Jaguar Land Rover has pledged to keep its three main UK car plants open as part of its major overhaul and push towards electrification, although questions remain about the future direction of the Castle Bromwich site.
The British firm has major manufacturing facilities at Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood, which produced a combined 243,908 cars last year. Jaguar Land Rover also has an engine plant in Wolverhampton and its headquarters in Gaydon, among other UK facilities.
There had been doubts about whether the firm would continue to operate its three main UK car plants, which particular questions over the future of Castle Bromwich, which is currently home to Jaguar’s struggling saloon car models. But JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré has insisted there are no plans to shut any of its global sites.
Under the Reimagine plan outlined by new boss Bolloré, the main Solihull facility will become the home of the firm’s electric models, and will build cars on Land Rover’s new “electric-biased” MLA platform and the new Jaguar-only EV architecture.
While Jaguar Land Rover has pledged not to close Castle Bromwich, its future direction is unclear. The site is currently home to the Jaguar XE, XF and F-Type, and was due to be used for the forthcoming electric XJ, which has now been scrapped.
Bolloré hinted that, once production of Jaguar’s saloon models ends when the brand goes all-electric, the site will not be used for making cars. He said the firm “will explore opportunities to refurbish the plant, which could benefit from the consolidation of businesses scattered across the Midlands.”
That could involve moving other Jaguar Land Rover operations, such as the Classic and SVO arms, into the site, or using it for another purpose.
Jaguar Land Rover is planning heavy investment into electrification, connected services and data-centre technology, and it is also possible that the growth of ‘connected ecosystem’ services could offer new opportunities for the site. For example, Renault will turn its long-running Flins factory in France into a site dedicated to the “circular economy”, conducting operations such as battery recycling.
As well as shuffling its manufacturing operations, Jaguar Land Rover will also restructure its non-manufacturing infrastructure, with its executive team all moving into a single location at the firm’s Gaydon HQ.
Jaguar Land Rover also said it has no plans to shut any of its global manufacturing facilities. It also has plants in Slovakia, where the Defender is produced, Brazil and China, with the Jaguar E-Pace and I-Pace SUVs produced under contract in Graz, Austria.