Jaguar Land Rover named UK’s largest motor manufacturer as production rises 8%

Jaguar Land Rover has been named the largest automotive manufacturer in Britain – for the second year in succession.

The group’s output accounted for more than 30% of all domestic car production last year.

The news follows the announcement from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) that UK car production achieved a 17-year high in 2016, with 1,722,698 vehicles rolling off production lines last year – an 8.5% increase on total production in 2015 – and the highest output since 1999.

However, while more cars were exported from Britain than ever before, total investment levels dipped, largely due to uncertainty over Brexit and manufacturers withholding decisions on where new models would be built.

Total committed investment was approximately £1.66bn, however, this figure was down from  £2.5bn  in 2015.

JLR’s three vehicle manufacturing plants in Liverpool and the West Midlands increased the company’s UK production output 8% over the previous year to 544,401.

The latest figures further demonstrate the dramatic transformation undergone by the company, which has increased production from its British plants by more than 240% since 2009, when total annual production stood at just 158,000 units.

Andy Goss, Jaguar Land Rover Global Sales Director, said: “Jaguar Land Rover has once again shown that investment in new models, skills and advanced technology are critically important to ensure Britain has a thriving automotive industry – even in the face of current uncertainty.”

In a post-Brexit rallying cry, he added: “To be the UK’s largest automotive business once again is a tremendous achievement. We are proud to call ourselves a British company and are committed to ensuring manufacturing remains the backbone of the British economy.”

The company’s record year was driven by its unrelenting investment plan, with 15 all-new and significantly enhanced models hitting the market.  

Honours went to the Jaguar F-Pace – the brand’s highest-volume model – which propelled Jaguar production forward by 67%, while the Range Rover Evoque, regained the position of Land Rover’s highest-volume car following the introduction of a new convertible version.

Since 2010 Jaguar Land Rover has invested close to £4bn in its four British manufacturing plants, which includes the Engine Manufacturing Centre at the i54 business park near Wolverhampton.

Together, the four facilities produce ten model lines and the company’s advanced Ingenium diesel engines.

The investment includes the installation of Europe’s largest aluminium body shop, two new state-of-the-art press lines and significant technology upgrades across all assembly lines.

To support this considerable expansion, the company’s manufacturing headcount has grown from 7,700 in 2010 to more than 19,000 today, with more set to follow.

With more than £3bn committed to product creation this fiscal year, JLR said it had no plans to slow down and would continue to create acclaimed new models for its growing global customer base.