It is being reported in the Middle East that, outgoing Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata, has revealed that a longterm plan tobuild an assembly plant in Saudi Arabia with a large press shop is being considered. This is no surprise really, the Arab market has long been an important source of revenue, and the new L405 Range Rover like other RR models has been extensively tested on roads in the United Arab Emirates. Reportedly, Tata said the move was under consideration because of the huge aluminium smelter Saudi Arabia was planning to open, built by Alcoa Inc and Saudi Arabian Mining Co, Ma’aden as a joint venture between the two companies. 'This smelter could make the production of aluminum in Saudi Arabia very competitive. So, taking a really long-term view, if we put an assembly plant there with a large press shop, given our commitment to aluminum in our products, we could have an interesting business case which we are examining today,' said Ratan Tata. Aluminum is, of course, very important to both Jaguar and Land Rover and both companies have integrated increasing amounts of the lightweight metal into their vehicles. The new Range Rover has achieved its lighter weight through use of this metal. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter and the Middle East's largest economy, has for decades been looking beyond oil to diversify its economy while its industry also has the advantage of low electricity prices thanks to low natural gas prices.
Tata, who will retire as chairman of Tata Motors in December also admitted that the building of the new Land Rover Defender in India is also under consideration, along with manufacturing some component assemblies for the new Defender production line in the UK. He went further and suggested that, 'production of the current Defender could be shifted to India because it may not be feasible to manufacture it in western Europe any longer.'