‘All-new aluminium vehicles’ will be made at the site from late 2018, with initial production of up to 150,000 vehicles.
Although there’s no confirmation yet about which vehicles from the JLR stable will be built there, this is the clearest hint yet that the next Defender will be built in Slovakia, and that it won’t use Land Rover’s existing steel T5 chassis (which underpins the Discovery 3/4 and first-gen Range Rover Sport) as has previously been speculated.
The news comes just two weeks after JLR announced an additional £450 million investment into its Wolverhampton Engine Manufacturing Centre, creating hundreds more UK jobs. Total investment by JLR over the last five years now totals around £11 billion.
Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar Land Rover cited Slovakia’s existing automotive industry as a key reason for the decision to build in the countyry. ‘Jaguar Land Rover is delighted today to welcome Slovakia into our family. […] Slovakia has an established premium automotive sector, which represents 43% of the country's overall industry. It has more than 300 suppliers in close proximity and an excellent logistics infrastructure; this confirmed our decision that this country was the ideal location.
Robert Fico, Slovakia’s Prime Minister said: ‘We are glad that Jaguar Land Rover has chosen Slovakia for its new world-class manufacturing facility. […] The marriage of Slovak craftsmanship and British engineering holds great promise.’
But the UK will remain JLR’s heartland, emphasises Dr Speth: ‘The heart of our company will always be in the UK, where our design, technology and manufacturing capabilities are based. It is our creativity and innovation which makes Jaguar Land Rover the leading boutique automotive brand, offering exceptional products for our customers.’
We’re eager to see what new aluminium vehicles Land Rover may be developing. But ‘leading boutique automotive brand’… With phrases like this, is it any wonder that enthusiasts are worried about the future of the Defender?