May 03, 2012 | Business Standard

Tata-owned JLR to build new Jaguar F-type sports car

India's Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover is planning to expand its plant at Castle Bromwich to build new Jaguar models and overhaul the brand.

According to The Telegraph, JLR intends to invest around £200m on expanding the facility by 50 per cent.

The company will manufacture the new Jaguar F-Type sports car, the successor to the historic E-type, at the Castle Bromwich plant.

The investment plans come just three years after the factory was threatened with closure as JLR considered cutting its UK workforce in order to cope with a sharp drop in sales, the newspaper said.

It is understood the investment in Castle Bromwich has been discussed with trade unions ahead of a vote on a new pay deal at JLR on Thursday, it said.

The expansion of the factory is a boost for the coalition Government, which is seeking to increase British exports and rebalance the economy, the Telegraph said.

JLR is benefiting from booming demand for its premium cars in emerging markets such as China.

The company has invested in its Solihull site and earlier this year it kicked off a search for 1,000 new workers in Halewood, Merseyside, to increase production of the popular Range Rover Evoque, the report said.

So far the turnaround at the company has been led by Land Rover.

In the first quarter of 2012 JLR sales in Europe rose 24.9 pc to 20,734.

But Jaguar sales rose by 7 per cent to just 4,164, while Land Rover sales increased 30 per cent to 16,570 during the period.

To kickstart the growth of Jaguar, the company wants a convertible version of the F-Type to go on sale next year, followed by the launch of a coupe.

JLR is investing £1.5bn a year on research and development and wants to launch 40 new models or variants of new models in the next five years, the newspaper said.

The company is on course for record pre-tax profits this year of around £1. 5 billion, thanks to demand for the Range Rover Evoque, the Telegraph added. PTI HSR TVS