Jaguar Land Rover has today continued its process of shifting vehicle production away from Britain, by announcing it will build the next generation of the Land Rover Defender at its Slovakia plant.
For 67 years, the 4×4 was made in the firm’s factory in Solihull, near Birmingham, but this ceased in 2016. Today, the Indian-owned firm said it would restart production in its new £1bn Slovakian plant, where it already builds the Land Rover Discovery.
The company told City A.M. the decision was not Brexit related, but that the model was designed and engineered in the UK, and would use engines built in Wolverhampton. A spokesperson said this was “reinforcing both the company’s British roots and the diversified, globalised nature of its manufacturing strategy”.
JLR has previously warned a no-deal scenario would “threaten our competitiveness as a business, our ability to continue to invest in the UK and our ability to continue to trade freely with the EU”. It is in the process of cutting 5,000 jobs as part of a wider savings programme.
The spokesperson added today the decision to move the Defender to Slovakia was “in parallel with plans for significant investment at the company’s Solihull plant in the UK to support the production of the next generation of flagship Range Rover and Land Rover models”.
Yesterday it emerged British car manufacturing fell 14.4 per cent in March, its tenth straight month of decline. There were 126,195 vehicles built in March according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).