Two years after JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division was created it now has its own dedicated £20m home at Ryton, near Coventry, and will soon grow by 250 staff in the process.
At its giant Formula 1-inspired Technical Centre, SVO designs, builds and finishes the most specialised Land Rovers and Range Rovers, such as the thrilling Range Rover Sport SVR and plush Range Rover SVAutobiography. But the Technical Centre also doubles as a lavish buying and designing destination for any Jaguar Land Rover customer opting to use the firm’s Vehicle Personalisation team.
The new site consists of four sectors: manufacturing and paint facilities, a technical suite and new VIP commissioning and viewing suites.
Special Operations Managing Director, John Edwards, says: ‘The new Special Vehicle Operations Technical Centre is a major step forward in meeting the desires of our most discerning customers.
‘The centre is a very modern facility, inspired by a Formula 1 engineering centre. It enables us to build on the successful launches of the Range Rover Sport SVR and Range Rover SVAutobiography and provide an excellent foundation for the growth of the SVO business.’
The centre’s Bespoke Commissioning Suite allows customers to take the lead in the build spec of their car and fully immerse themselves in the design process. Choice of body colour (or colours) – starting with 288 shades chosen by JLR designers – plus the leather and stitching used inside, can be viewed on an interactive screen.
Greg Clark, Director of Vehicle Personalisation, says: ‘Our brand new facility delivers industry leading quality, precision and choice. We will encourage customers to participate in the design of their own vehicles, to give a real sense of emotional connection to something that they have created; something unique.’
Hundreds of jobs created
Impressive growth will require more hands on deck, so 250 new staff are being recruited to build on the existing team of over 1000 staff.
John Edwards adds: ‘Today we employ just over 1000 designers, engineers and technicians across four divisions in Special Operations. The team is energetic, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial. They are the principal reason that we have made a strong start in business since 2014.
‘Now we have new facilities, technologies, products and services in place to exceed the demands of our most discerning customers all over the world. I look forward to strengthening our team and delivering on this fantastic opportunity.’
A Classic home
The good news doesn’t end there. The recently launched Classic division, which encompasses the Series I Reborn programme, will also have a new base just a stone’s throw away from SVO thanks to a further £7.5m investment, scheduled for completion in early 2017.
Director of the Classic division, Tim Hannig, says: ‘In this fantastic new facility we will offer the opportunity for owners and prospective customers to meet with us, review and select the cars or services that meet their personal requirements and then establish a close relationship with Jaguar Land Rover Classic throughout the purchase process and beyond.’
There’s a lot more to come, too, including a range of all-terrain SVX models ‘somewhere between Paris-Dakar and the Camel Trophy’…
Now, take a look behind the scenes at SVO: