Jaguar Land Rover considering Black Country engine plant

JAGUAR Land Rover is considering plans to build a new engine plant on the outskirts of Wolverhampton in a move which could create hundreds of new jobs, reports have suggested.

Although there has been no official word from the company, suggestions are that it is looking at the i54 business park in South Staffordshire as one possible location, together with a site in South Wales and a possible one in India.

The i54 suggestion makes sense from a logistic aspect. The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership has yet to name its preferred location for an Enterprise Zone and while the site is not technically in Wolverhampton, it is still in the LEP area.

Should EZ status be conferred on it, it would benefit from relaxed planning and rates regulations.

It is also already a manufacturing base having been selected by aerospace firms Moog and Eurofins as the location of new factories.

JLR is in the midst of a major expansion plan in order to meet increased demand for its vehicles. Capacity at its existing plants is high and the proposal for a separate engine plant would allow for a more flexible manufacturing operation – in much the same way as competitor BMW uses the Hams Hall plant to supply its engines.

Although the company is owned by Indian firm Tata Motors – hence the speculation about a possible plant on the sub-continent – the coalition Government here is likely to pledge its support for the plant to be sited in the UK.

With its strong automotive supply chain and skills base, a move to site the plant in the West Midlands also makes sense from a labour and logistics aspect.

JLR’s engines are currently supplied by Ford from plants including Bridgend and Dagenham but JLR is thought to want greater control over its own destiny and would prefer its own plant.

Click here to search’s extensive archive for more stories on automotive manufacturing.