UK Business Secretary Dr. Vince Cable today toured Jaguar Land Rover's Halewood Operations facility on Merseyside to experience first-hand the positive impact the imminent launch of the new Range Rover Evoque will have on the UK economy. Dr Cable's visit to Jaguar Land Rover came as the company announced more than £2 billion worth of supply contracts for the Range Rover Evoque, awarded to more than 40 companies in the UK. The contracts follow the completion of a global competitive tendering exercise on component-sourcing for the vehicle, which will arrive in dealerships this year. During a tour of the facility, Dr. Cable met with key plant personnel and new apprentices who have recently joined the Halewood team that will build the Evoque. Jaguar Land Rover announced in February that these 1500 new recruits will be trained up to an Intermediate (Level 2) Apprenticeship.
Dr Cable also visited Merseyside-based component supplier International Automotive Components (IAC), which is one of the companies that has been awarded a contract by Jaguar Land Rover. Cable said, 'Jaguar Land Rover's news that it's awarding £2 billion worth of contracts to businesses in the UK to supply components for the Evoque shows that the UK automotive supply chain is capable of winning major contracts and creating vital jobs in the UK.'
Jaguar Land Rover CEO, Dr. Ralf Speth said, 'Jaguar Land Rover is a key player within the UK economy. We are the largest investor in automotive research and development and engineering in this country and as today's announcement shows, we generate billions of pounds of economic activity here every year. Alongside the 1,500 new jobs created in Halewood to support the launch of the new Evoque, Jaguar Land Rover is investing in advanced research, design and technical innovation with key strategic partners which together with today's £2bn of contract announcements will mean the creation of thousands more skilled jobs in the UK automotive supply chain.'
Evoque is the first of many new products that Jaguar Land Rover will introduce in the next five years, which together will generate billions of pounds in investment in the UK. 'The billions being spent on Evoque is just the start, with 40 significant product actions coming over the next five years,' asserted Speth. 'This will mean a high level of investment by us in the future and represents a tremendous opportunity for UK suppliers to work in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover to really strengthen the supplier base in this country.'
The successful companies supporting the launch of the Evoque are located throughout the UK and include amongst others International Automotive Components, Johnson Controls and Magna International on Merseyside; McKecknie and Kostal in Yorkshire; and Sertec, Walsall Pressings and Kautex Unipart in the West Midlands. In addition to contracts for component supply, many other companies in the UK will provide facilities and services to support the production of the new Range Rover Evoque. 'The UK's automotive supply base has proved once again that it is truly world class,' said Ian Harnett, Jaguar Land Rover's Director of Purchasing. 'We demand the highest standards from our suppliers in order to satisfy our customers' expectations, and this attention to detail is reflected in our competitive tender process. We focus on many aspects of supplier capability, including technology, quality, materials, environmental performance, efficiency and cost. It is testament to the excellence of companies in this country and their highly skilled employees, that 50 percent of the component business announced today is with businesses in the UK. The Range Rover Evoque is a brand new model in our line-up, so every vehicle we build is incremental volume for us and our suppliers, which is also good news for employment across the industry.'
Contract wins across UK regions - some of the 40+ companies benefiting from Jaguar Land Rover awarding contracts to UK suppliers are as follows; North West-based, interior components supplier International Automotive Components (IAC) won a contract worth over £500 million to supply the instrument panel, centre console, cockpit, upper pillar trim, lower pillar trim, modular headliner system, wheel arch liners, door modules and rear loadspace sides. Each of IAC's UK plants has seen considerable investment in new high technology equipment in preparation for this work, and the company has also created new high value skilled jobs in these facilities as follows; 236 in IAC Halewood, Elmdon and Coleshill in the West Midlands (113 and 29 new jobs respectively), 94 in Scunthorpe, and 57 in Sunderland.
Magna International, a global supplier of vehicle exteriors and interiors, won contracts to supply complex moulded and painted front and rear bumper assemblies. These have to be engineered to be light, yet able to cope with the latest crash specifications, with integrated latest generation parking sensors and fog lights. Other products include paintedside sills, rear spoilers, interior door and rear quarter panels. With a total value of over £400 million, this new business will create an extra 136 skilled jobs, 90 at their manufacturing facility in Halewood and the remainder at the Hartlip plant in Kent.
McKechnie Plastic Components. Specialists from Yorkshire-based technical injection moulders McKechnie Plastic Components (MPC) worked alongside Land Rover engineers at the company's Gaydon design centre to create and develop highly complex plastic components. These had to be both technically innovative and economical to produce, as well as meeting the highest performance and environmental standards. In total, nearly 50 different parts were created across many areas of the vehicle's design including body side and wheel arch mouldings, high gloss cappings for the A, B, C and D pillars, and a range of complex ducting and aerodynamic systems. The contract value is over £50 million and MPC has invested nearly £5 million in factory modifications and extensions, in the installation of a number of new moulding machines, some of which enable novel multi-material manufacture, and the creation of state-of-the-art robotic production cells for automatic sub-component assembly. McKechnie are taking on 85 people in manufacturing, logistics, technical, and quality departments at their two manufacturing sites in Stamford Bridge and Pickering in North Yorkshire. McKechnie Sales and Marketing Director Mike Murphy said, 'The Range Rover Evoque project is a team effort and technically we have pushed the boundaries to achieve optimal design solutions that are innovative yet practical. The significant investment in latest automation technology and moulding cells will result in components made in the UK that set new benchmarks.'
Sertec Birmingham's main plant in Coleshill will produce 79 parts for Range Rover Evoque creating circa 30 skilled jobs, with a contract value of £20 million. These are primarily precision stamped metal components for the upper body. A further five parts, focused in particular on the accessories set for the Range Rover Evoque, including exhaust pipe trims and side runners with a polished chrome finish, will be manufactured at the Sertec Tube and Cylinders plant Smethwick utilising specialised technology. The contract is valued at over £20 million and will create 20 new high value jobs in an area of high unemployment, doubling the size of that production facility.