JLR Halewood in line for investment as part of all-electric production strategy

Thierry Bolloré

Luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover aims to become an all electric vehicle manufacturer by the end of the decade, which will result in new investment for its Halewood site on Merseyside to build electric cars.

The business, which has manufacturing sites in Halewood, and Castle Bromwich and Solihull in the West Midlands, also revealed today that Solihull will be the home to the future advanced Jaguar pure electric platform and Castle Bromwich will be “repurposed”.

JLR unveiled its plans today as part of its ‘Reimagine’ strategy, presented by chief executive, Thierry Bolloré.

He said: “JLR has signalled its commitment to Halewood’s future by revealing a new electric architecture is destined for the plant in years to come – Electrical Modular Architecture (EMA).

“This is an electric biased platform which will also support electrified internal combustion engines (ICE) as we evolve our product line-up in the future.

“As a result, Jaguar Land Rover plans to make a positive investment in the plant, so the facilities are equipped to build cars on this new platform.”

He added: “Castle Bromwich will continue as it does, today, to build the XE, XF and F-TYPE vehicle lines.

“It’s too soon to say for sure what will happen there in the future, but what I can say is that we are now proactively exploring opportunities to repurpose Castle Bromwich to make even better use of the site, which could benefit from a consolidation of our operational footprint and centres of excellence currently scattered across the Midlands of the UK.”

Unite the Union has broadly welcomed today’s announcement, which it says will mean no plant closures and no compulsory job losses.

Unite said that this is “good news in challenging economic times” for the company’s estimated 40,000 UK employees.

Unite national officer for the automotive industries, Des Quinn, said: “Unite understands the need for a re-evaluation of the direction of travel for the Jaguar Land Rover brands and the challenges facing the business given the events of recent years.

“These pressures included the slump in global automotive sales; the fallout of ‘Dieselgate’ and tighter regulation around emissions which have been compounded by lack of confidence due to the Brexit process and the effects of the worldwide pandemic.

“For those reasons, we welcome the Reimagine programme and the vision for the company in the future.

“However, this is not unconditional support. Assurances of no plant closures and no compulsory job losses have been sought and given, and it is on this basis only that we will work with the company to meet the challenges of the future.”

In his presentation, Mr Bolloré said: “Jaguar Land Rover is unique in the global automotive industry. Designers of peerless models, an unrivalled understanding of the future luxury needs of its customers, emotionally rich brand equity, a spirit of Britishness and unrivalled access to leading global players in technology and sustainability within the wider Tata Group.

“We are harnessing those ingredients today to reimagine the business, the two brands and the customer experience of tomorrow. The Reimagine strategy allows us to enhance and celebrate that uniqueness like never before. Together, we can design an even more sustainable and positive impact on the world around us.”

At the heart of its Reimagine plan will be the electrification of both Land Rover and Jaguar brands on separate architectures with two clear, unique personalities, JLR said.

In the next five years Land Rover will welcome six pure electric variants as it continues to be the world leader of luxury SUVs through its three families of Range Rover, Discovery and Defender.

The first all-electric variant will arrive in 2024.

By the middle of the decade, Jaguar will have undergone a renaissance to emerge as a pure electric luxury brand with a dramatically beautiful new portfolio of emotionally engaging designs and pioneering next generation technologies, said JLR.

Although the nameplate may be retained, the planned Jaguar XJ replacement will not form part of the line-up, as the brand looks to realise its unique potential.

Jaguar and Land Rover will offer pure electric power, nameplate by nameplate, by 2030. By this time, in addition to 100% of Jaguar sales, it is anticipated that around 60% of Land Rovers sold will be equipped with zero tailpipe powertrains.

Jaguar Land Rover’s aim is to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.

As part of this ambition, the company is also preparing for the expected adoption of clean fuel-cell power in line with a maturing of the hydrogen economy.

Development is already under way with prototypes arriving on UK roads within the next 12 months as part of the long term investment programme.

Annual commitments of around £2.5bn will include investments in electrification technologies and the development of connected services to enhance the journey and experiences of customers.

Plans involve Land Rover using the forthcoming flex Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) to deliver electrified internal combustion engines (ICE) and full electric variants as the company evolves its product line-up in the future.

In addition, Land Rover will also use pure electric biased Electric Modular Architecture (EMA) which will also support advanced electrified ICE.

Future Jaguar models will be built exclusively on a pure electric architecture.

JLR said it will retain its plant and assembly facilities in the home UK market and around the world.

Key partners including trade unions, retailers and those in the supply chain will continue to play a vital part of the extended new Jaguar Land Rover ecosystem, it said.

As evidenced with the latest financial results, Jaguar Land Rover has a strong foundation on which to build a sustainable and resilient business. In the three months to December 31, 2020, JLR achieved a profit before tax of £439m, after £37m of exceptional charges, up £374m from the second quarter and £121m from a year ago.

JLR said that, to realise its vision of modern luxury mobility with confidence, it will curate closer collaboration and knowledge-sharing with the parent Tata Group companies to enhance sustainability and reduce emissions as well as sharing best practice in next-generation technology, data and software development leadership.

Jaguar Land Rover has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors, in which Tata Sons is the largest shareholder, since 2008.

Bringing all these ingredients together, Jaguar Land Rover said it is on a path towards double-digit EBIT margins and positive cash flow, with an ambition to achieve positive cash net-of-debt by 2025.

Ultimately, Jaguar Land Rover said it aims to be one of the most profitable luxury manufacturers in the world.

Mr N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive, said: “The Reimagine strategy takes Jaguar Land Rover on a significant path of acceleration in harmony with the vision and sustainability priorities of the wider Tata Group.

“Together, we will help Jaguar realise its potential, reinforce Land Rover’s timeless appeal and collectively become a symbol of a truly responsible business for its customers, society and the planet.”