Jaguar Land Rover plans to build an engine factory in China as it steps up a strategy to internationalise its production footprint. Yesterday the company confirmed that the engine plant – its first outside the UK – would be built on the same site as its car factory in China, which is due to start production this year.
Ian Harnett, JLR’s purchasing chief, said: “There is an opportunity to do that [an engine plant] within the existing footprint of the factory.”
JLR’s increase in car production has been a big contributor to the revival of the UK car industry, which has doubled the value of its exports over the past decade.
Mr Harnett declined to comment on the group’s timeline for its China plant, but said it would open after the company’s UK engine factory in Wolverhampton begins production.
According to two people with knowledge of the plans, construction of an engine factory in China was expected to start within two years, UK engines would be exported to the Chinese car factory in the interim.
“We will be building more engines in the UK than we do in China, for certain,” Mr Harnett told the Financial Times.
In April, Bob Grace, JLR’s head in China, said the factory in Changshu was a “white sheet of paper” that would have European levels of automation and exceed the company’s Liverpool plant in quality.
JLR, owned by Tata Motors of India, is a late-comer to China, where Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz dominate the luxury segment with a combined market share of 80 per cent.
But as a maker of luxury sport utility vehicles, JLR has an opportunity to take a larger share of the fastest-growing segment of the China market. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers says that SUV sales between January and May rose 38 per cent year on year to 1.5m units. Annual SUV sales in China are set to treble to 7m units by 2020.
Great Wall Motor, in Hebei, makes China’s bestselling SUV. But problems this year with quality have delayed the launch of its latest model. JLR intends to develop a local brand for China, in line with government requirements. Last year Mercedes opened an engine plant in Beijing, its first outside the US. It said the plant would eventually export components to Germany. Luxury vehicles make up a quarter of sales in Beijing, Shanghai and other big regional markets and are set to increase their share as licence plate restrictions to combat congestion and pollution encourage car buyers to upgrade. Ford said last month its Shanghai joint venture would invest Rmb8bn in a factory to manufacture its luxury Cadillac marque, which it exports only to China.
捷豹路虎(Jaguar Land Rover)计划在中国建设一家发动机生产厂。正在加速推进生产国际化战略的该公司昨日证实，这家发动机厂——这是该公司设在英国以外的首个此类工厂——将与其在中国的汽车生产厂建在同一地点。后者将于今年投产。
位于河北省的长城汽车(Great Wall Motor)制造中国最畅销的运动型多用途车。但今年出现的质量问题导致该公司延后了最新车型的推出。按照中国政府的要求，捷豹路虎计划在中国开发一个本土品牌。去年梅赛德斯-奔驰在北京投产了一家发动机生产厂，这是该公司在美国以外的首个此类工厂。梅赛德斯-奔驰表示，该厂最终将向德国出口零部件。豪华汽车在北京、上海以及其他大型地区性市场的销售中占据了四分之一的比重，随着旨在缓解交通拥堵和污染的汽车牌照限制推动买家升级，豪车的市场份额还将进一步提升。福特(Ford)上月表示，其在上海的合资企业将投资80亿元人民币建厂生产凯迪拉克(Cadillac)豪华汽车，产品面向中国市场。