Mr Azzam Yaser Shalabi, the President of the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) Saudi Arabia, and Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer, have formally signed a Letter of Intent and paved the way for an automotive partnership in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Jaguar Land Rover and Saudi Arabia’s NICDP will now begin a detailed feasibility study together, to determine the viability of setting up an automotive facility. HRH Prince Faisal Bin Turki bin Abdul Azi Al Saud and the Saudi Arabian Government has expressed its intention to initiate, develop and support the automotive industries and see Jaguar Land Rover as a potential partner to help strengthen their industrialisation plans. Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said, 'We are committed to further international partnerships to meet record demand for our highly sought after vehicles. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an attractive potential development option, complementing our existing advanced facilities in Britain and recent manufacturing plans to expand in other countries including India and China.'
Discussions between Jaguar Land Rover and the Saudi Government are at a preliminary stage, although opportunities have already been identified in aluminium component production. The world’s largest integrated aluminium complex, a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Mining Company and Alcoa of the US, is due to begin production in 2014 at the Ras Al Khair facility so creating potential opportunities for the automotive sector.
JLR has pioneered aluminium body development in the premium car segment, using lightweight metals for its award-winning Jaguar XJ model and the new Range Rover, the first luxury sports utility vehicle with an all-aluminium monocoque body structure.
Exploratory discussions about potential investment in Saudi Arabia follows JLR’s recent joint venture announcement with Chery Automobile Company Ltd to manufacture vehicles at a new plant near Shanghai, China, and the separate expansion of JLR assembly at the company’s plant at Pune, India. Such expansion follows a sharp rise in JLR sales to emerging markets, contributing to a 32% increase in global retail sales to 324,184 vehicles in the eleven months to November 30, 2012. In the current calendar year, sales in the Middle East and North Africa have increased by more than 9% to 11,418 units.
Pending agreement on development options in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, JLR expects to announce further plans in 2013. Issues such as level of investment, potential capacity and job creation have not yet been discussed in detail between the parties. 'This is an exciting project that could enable Jaguar Land Rover to establish a Joint Venture partnership in a part of the world where luxury vehicle sales are expected to rise.' added Dr Speth. 'If we proceed, it will complement our existing expansion in the UK and elsewhere.'
JLR employs 25 000 people and sells vehicles in 170 countries around the world and has recruited over 8,000 people in the last two years. It is currently building a state of the art advanced engine facility at i54 South Staffordshire Business Park investing £355m and creating 750 new jobs, construction commenced on 20th June 2012. One of the UK’s largest exporters by value (£8.2bn in 2011) JLR generates in the region of 85% of its revenue from exports and is working on plans to extend its global production footprint, particularly in Brazil, India and China.