JLR to build cars in Austria

Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover has signed up Austrian contractor Magna Steyr to build future vehicles, as its own UK plants are currently working close to full capacity.

The vast majority of cars they made last year, rolled off production lines at the JLR plants in Castle Bromwich, Solihull and Halewood.

The company also has a smaller plants in India, and has opened a new operation in Shanghai with local manufacturer Chery Automobile. A further 24,000-vehicle plant is being built in Brazil and JLR also has smaller local assembly facilities in Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.

However, the deal with Magna is the first time JLR has contracted out production and the company said it was necessary to meet its plans to expand production.

Ralf Speth, JLR chief executive, said the deal marked ‘another step in building our global footprint’ and would allow the company to expand its range of models.

JLR refused to specify when production will start at Magna’s plant in Graz or which vehicles will be built there, saying only that ‘entire future cars’ would be made at the site.

The car maker denied that using a contractor would affect the reputation that JLR has as a premium British brand, saying the business will still be ‘absolutely a British manufacturer with our foundations in the UK’.

Ralf added: ‘The UK remains at the centre of our design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Partnerships such as this will complement our UK operations.’

Over the past five years the company has invested £10bn in research and new plants and plans to spend a further £3.6bn in 2015/16.