Land Rover wants to make new 4x4 at Tata plant in Pune in bid to cut costs

Land Rover is planning to build its all-new Land Rover Defender at the manufacturing headquarters of parent company Tata Motors in Pune, India. And it will probably send some models back to Europe for final assembly in the UK as part of a ‘reverse CKD’ operation. Land Rover already builds Freelanders in India for sale in Asia.

The new Defender plan, revealed by Tata chairman Ratan Tata in an exclusive Autocar interview, would have the twin benefits of lowering the manufacturing costs of a model Land Rover is determined to sell at affordable prices in Europe, and of locating a Defender operation close to key Asia-Pacific markets where it should sell strongly.

Read the full Ratan Tata interview in this week's Autocar magazine

The 2015 Defender, which Land Rover has decided will have body-on-frame construction as opposed to the monocoque design it also considered, will thus keep the configurability of today’s models while offering much more modern packaging, comfort, controls and dynamics.

It is likely that the Defender will use updated, lightened versions of Land Rover’s much-praised T5 ladder chassis, currently used for the Discovery and Range Rover Sport. The basic styling of Land Rover’s recent DC100 concepts is understood to be very close to that planned for the new Defender, although details such as wheels, lights, grilles and interior styling will all change.

If the Pune manufacturing plan is adopted, the Defender will share major chassis and suspension parts with a revised version of the Indian-built Tata Aria SUV, also made in Pune and due in several years’ time. The two chassis will not be identical but should be close enough in dimensions and specification to share the same manufacturing process.

The Pune Defender plan looks all the more workable because Tata recently announced plans to build back-to-back engine plants in Pune and Wolverhampton. Either should be able to provide the staple four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines a new Defender would need.

Steve Cropley

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Comments
34

25 January 2012

Well that's going to upset all sorts.

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25 January 2012

Although it would be quite gutting to see Defender production move completely out of the UK I can see why financially this would be necessary to keep the vehicle at a work-horse price point.

I also think that many of the other details in this article are quite promising in terms of achieving a decent LR product.

25 January 2012

Fair enough but does this mean redundancy in the UK . Seems to me that question is glossed over in the press release .

25 January 2012

[quote Old Toad]redundancy in the UK [/quote]

I think that's unlikely in the short term - Land Rover are the sales and production star of JLR at the moment; and Solihull at least is at capacity in terms of producing current lines.

However I'll admit to being concerned at the rate JLR appears to be expanding. It's a fickle business and they don't yet have the breadth to weather out another downturn in the 4x4 and luxury markets.

Does it bother me that the Defender is to be built in Pune rather than the 'hull? Not in the slightest.

25 January 2012

would seem eminently sensible to me - we get a robust, new, affordably priced Defender that can reach the world market and with volume stretched through sharing with another Tata model. And the UK-hosted success with Disco and Range Rover models can continue.

jer

25 January 2012

Lets see what they can make of the Discovery ladder but with a separate body on frame. I'm no engineer but it could be tough to make it light enough and ensure decent driving and nvh characteristics. Suppose the migration to India was bound to happen. It is disturbing how we cannot make money on a car costing less than 40k. Are salaries that high in the UK?

25 January 2012

Since Land Rover are in effect an Indian car company we can't complain to much about potential jobs going abroad, it makes business sense to build on home soil where's it's cheapest. On the upside it might bring the price down.

 

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