Overseas Production: On the opening day of the Geneva Motor Show JLR reveal that its cars could soon be made in China, India and Brazil but confirmed that its main production base would always be in the UK. 'We are currently in talks to extend global production in China, India and Brazil,' said Frank Klass, the company’s global head of communications. He added that 'the company’s products were now so much in demand all around the world that it had to explore all possibilities, many of which could well lead to more jobs.' Land Rover is already building Freelander models in India but is now keen to extend production to other models in its range. Phil Popham, the company’s global sales and services director said, 'We have been in discussions for a while in all three countries but these things take a lot of time. We are close to capacity in some of our plants in the UK so it would make sense to be able to build cars in these three major markets.'
In 2010/11 the company had made more than £1 billion profit thanks to the evolution of its products. In 2011 JLR produced five new vehicles and has promised another six for this year.
Indian Engine Plant: JLR also confirmed at the Geneva Motor Show that it is considering a new engine manufacturing facility in India similar to the one recently announced in the UK with an investment of 355 million pounds. The Indian facility would concentrate on developing lower-specification engines that will cater to India and other emerging markets. This is evidence of the firm’s long-term strategy; the company plans to split its products into premium and lower ranges. The premium range will be manufactured in UK factories while some of the other products will be produced in India. Engines manufactured in India will also be available for Tata vehicles. JLR declined to give any information on the timeframe or investment. This will be the first JLR facility outside the UK and is something that was expected sooner or later because of the company's Indian ownership. Any Indian facility will help JLR lower prices and help it compete with their German rivals.
DCS Graphic Data Management Software: Dimensional Control Systems Inc. (DCS), a provider of quality management software solutions and consulting services, has announced that JLR has selected the Graphic Data Management (GDM) solution to replace its existing dimensional data management system. GDM is a quality data management reporting and monitoring system that allows users and managers to review and control their processes from anywhere in the world. By providing real-time analysis of measured quality data, trends can be detected and potential problems rectified well before parts or assemblies start to fail more traditional quality checks. For the first time, it will be possible to 'close the loop' from manufacturing back to design, providing real feedback for engineers, directly improving overall product quality. JLR has been leading the field in quality data collection and reporting, but expanding the use of this information is the key to success. 'The partnership between JLR and DCS allows engineers to have immediate access to quality product data from any web capable PC or hand-held device,' said DCS President and CEO Robert Kaphengst. 'We are very proud to have been selected as JLR’s partner to help move their processes forward, particularly given their exceptional quality goals.'
For more information, www.3dcs.com. click here for DCS
Dealership Expansion: In India, JLR continues to accelerate its dealership expansion programme, which started with the first showroom in Mumbai in mid-2009. The company now has fifteen operational outlets in thirteen cities and has plans to expand this to twenty four outlets by the end of 2012. The latest dealership, a flagship facility, was opened in Gurgaon, Haryana, and increased the number of outlets in the Delhi region to three. Spanning three floors and covering 12,000 square feet, the new dealership has two floors of car displays, an extensive customer lounge and vast customer parking. Located in SCO 316, Sector 29, Gurgaon, the facility is operated by AMP Motors who are a well-established Jaguar and Land Rover dealer in this region. The dealership will provide customers with access to the full range of Jaguar products and the Freelander 2, Discovery 4, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and the Range Rover Evoque. Rohit Suri, Head of Premier Car Division, Jaguar Land Rover India, said, 'Since our first showroom in June 2009, we are extremely pleased with the response we have received to our products and have accelerated the pace of our dealership expansion programme across India. The expansion of our dealership network is one of the pillars in the strategy to continue growing sales in the Indian market. The opening of this superb facility in Gurgaon, extends our reach even further and will give customers a high level of premium service that is expected from our brands.'
Malaysia: The Armed Forces will replace its fleet of Land Rover Defenders with 4x4s made by the Weststar Group in Thailand, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was reported saying, 'The existing 4x4s used by the three services are obsolete and no longer cost-effective to maintain.'
Weststar Group is based in Kuala Lumpur and headed by Tan Sri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim. Among others, its enterprises include automotive sales and imports, defence, engineering, aviation services, and construction. The 4x4s offered by the group are assembled in Pattaya, in south Thailand. Ahmad Zahid declined to reveal either the number of vehicles to be purchased or the price Weststar would be charging for the as-yet unspecified vehicles.
The minister added that Weststar has previously provided the vehicles for military use in, among others, the United States, Singapore and Thailand. Weststar has also supplied the government previously via subsidiary Weststar LDV, a joint venture with the now-insolvent UK firm LDV, which provided customised panel vans and transporters specifically for government agencies and services.
Jaguar Land Rover - the future: 'JLR has a good future while Tata Steel Europe needed investment as well as improvement in the prevailing economic slowdown there to look up,' said Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata. 'The future of Jaguar Land Rover is very good and China is the second largest market. We are hopeful of a very good future for it unless the petrol prices goes high,' Tata said while taking part in a question answer session organised by Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry in India.
'The USA continues to be the good market for Jaguar while presence in Asia is growing in momentum particularly due to the meteoric rise in demand from car buyers in China,' Tata said. He added that, 'We, the Tata group, have spent millions to earn a brand name over the years and finally succeeded.'
About Tata Steel Europe, the Tata Chairman said, 'It was performing in a negative way for various reasons including the prevailing economic conditions there and high cost of raw materials. Our European operations need investment. Let the economic conditions improve there, which I hope would take place quickly and we will plan it out only after that.'