Jaguar picks Midlands for engine plant

Marion Dakers
LUXURY carmaker <a href=""; target="_blank">Jaguar</a> Land Rover (JLR) is today set to confirm a newly-formed enterprise zone in Wolverhampton as the site of its new engine plant.

Jaguar Land Rover, owned by Indian conglomerate Tata, is expected to confirm the development at an event today with business secretary Vince Cable.

It is estimated that the plant will bring hundreds of jobs and up to £400m of investment to the Midlands.

Last October, the firm reversed a decision to move three of its factories out of the UK.

The high-end carmaker currently has plants in Coventry, Birmingham, Warwickshire and Liverpool. However, the firm buys its engines from previous owner Ford – a deal that will continue in the medium-term while the new plant is built.

Ford sold the Jaguar and Land Rover groups to Mumbai-based Tata in 2008 for £1.15bn as it struggled to keep a lid on losses at its US operations.

The companies have since delivered remarkable gains for the new owner, posting a record pre-tax profit of £1.1bn in the year to the end of March.

The i54 business park in Wolverhampton was named as an enterprise zone in August, under the government’s plan to encourage investment in certain regions. Companies in the zones will be given cheaper business rates, superfast broadband and more relaxed rules on planning.

Wolverhampton appears to have beaten off competition from sites in south Wales, which were mooted as possible destinations for the new Jaguar plant earlier this year.

Tata did not respond to a request for comment last night.