Work set to start on new JLR factory in Solihull as expansion gathers pace

FURTHER evidence of Land Rover’s impending expansion has surfaced with the news work is set to start on a new factory at its Solihull headquarters.

Reports claim Vinci Construction has won the contract to build the new manufacturing facility at Lode Lane.

The scheme will involve the demolition of around 400,000 sq ft of existing factory space before work can start on the new building. The new facility is set to house the body-in-white processing; this is where a vehicle body’s sheet metal components are welded together before any moving parts are added.

News of the work adds more fuel to reports which have emerged during the week regarding a massive expansion by Land Rover which could see production ramped up to around 600,000 vehicles a year – double existing capacity – and a large expansion of the product range which would see the production of 16 model variants including new versions of the Defender, Discovery, Sport and Evoque.

Plans submitted earlier this year proposed a two-storey plant at Lode Lane covering around 1.2m sq ft. However, the scheme has been revised since then and is now thought to involve the construction of a single storey building.

The new production facilities are needed to help JLR meet the growing demand for its products. The firm has recruited thousands of extra workers during the course of the year and more could be set to follow as global demand increases.

The company has already moved to 24/7 shifts in an effort to increase production.
There is no word on when the new factory would be operational but as with its new engine plant on the i54 site near Wolverhampton, JLR will be keen it is sooner rather than later.

Indian parent Tata Motors will also keen that the expansion work is completed quickly as it aims to double the value of its shares by 2017.