JLR will use Magna Steyr's factory in Austria to relieve pressure on its UK factories while it searches for a permanent European production site

Jaguar Land Rover has announced a new manufacturing agreement with Magna Steyr that will see some of its future models built in Austria.

The new agreement is intended to free up production resources and relieve pressure on JLR's UK factories, which are understood to be nearing full capacity.

Magna Steyr, which operates its own factory in Graz, Austria, already builds vehicles for other car manufacturers. In the past, Magna Steyr has produced cars including the Peugeot RCZ, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Mini Countryman.

While Jaguar Land Rover hasn't revealed which vehicles will be produced at the Magna Steyr plant, possible candidates for Magna Steyr to build include the Land Rover Discovery Sport, the upcoming Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet and a smaller variant of the Jaguar F-Pace crossover.

JLR has already committed to bringing 12 new or refreshed vehicles to market over the course of 2015-16. At the same time the firm will invest £3.6 billion on new vehicle development and expansion.

Bringing some vehicle manufacturing to the Magna Steyr site will allow the firm more time to search for its own bespoke European factory. Autocar understands the new plant will build models based on the company’s new aluminium architecture, with the upcoming Defender replacement being the lead candidate for overseas production.

Although the move to build an east European plant might prove controversial, JLR’s three UK plants are already packed to capacity.

The Evoque and Discovery Sport – both based on JLR's steel D8 platform – are currently built in the northwest at Halewood, which is thought to be operating at maximum capacity.

The Castle Bromwich site will build the new XF and the F-Pace, which are both based on the smaller D7a aluminium architecture.

Solihull is building the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and the Jaguar XE. Trying squeeze in both Discovery 5 production as well as the expected third Range Rover model could result in the Discovery 5 being made in eastern Europe.

Known internally as ‘Project Darwin’ and codenamed L663, the new Defender should be the main product line for the new facility. However, if sales of the Range Rover Sport continue to boom and the Jaguar F-Pace crossover is also a sales success, lack of capacity in the UK might mean another model has to be made at the new plant.

Autocar understands that the current thinking among JLR planners is that the Discovery 5 – codenamed L462 – could also be made at the new facility.

Sources say JLR bosses have narrowed down a site for its new factory to two potential locations.

The first possibility is near Gyor in Hungary, which would allow the company to take advantage of the supplier base built up by Audi for the local production of the TT Coupé and its four-cylinder engines.

The second possible site is somewhere in Poland, although the sources could not be more specific.

JLR sources privately insist that opening a plant in central or eastern Europe and moving some production to Austria is not a vote of no-confidence in the UK but simply a function of the UK plants getting close to capacity and the need to spread its production footprint, following the lead of rivals such as Mercedes and BMW.

JLR already has production in China and is currently building its own facility in Brazil.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

Land Rover Defender
The chassis and body are hugely strong and should last a lifetime. The detailing, such as the interior trim, is dreadful

The Land Rover Defender is an institution and unbeatable off road, if crude on it

Join the debate

Comments
22

23 May 2015
Great to see Jaguar Land Rover progressing so deservedly well. Car makers the world over are successfully designing and making cars in Britain. Surely the JLR could set up another factory to meet the increased demand. Cheaper costs and spreading around production are good arguments in favour of setting up a unit in Eastern Europe though.

23 May 2015
Mind you, they STILL haven't cracked the quality problems there and seems they don't know how to screw together a car properly. Can't quite believe the XE will be built there - its going to be a quality disaster, darling.

289

2 July 2015
....cant believe that Hilton didn't mention that Magna Steyr also build the G-Wagen for Mercedes-Benz! A more over engineered car would be hard to find in this day and age, and after running many of them - NEVER had anything but utter reliability. So maybe Magna Steyr can bring some reliability to the Land Rover product...this could only be a good thing as L-R's engineering integrity is pretty dire at present. Personally I think they should build the most complex cars there...RR and RR Sport as the type of people who are spending £100k plus will give LR hell if the prove unreliable. It will cost them a fortune in replacement cars. Jaguar, I will accept has improved immeasurably over the pile of junk it once was...you can thank Ford for that....but they never got round to fixing LR though before they sold off the company. It is a great shame and undermines the confidence of people like me who stick to German SUV's and yet who quite like the design of the British product but wont risk the ownership hassle.

24 May 2015
Lots of spare assembly capacity at Longbridge and what's so special about being near Audi's supplier base?

24 May 2015
So that's what this unconclusive story is about. There are plenty of brown field sites in the UK that could be regenerated without spreading JLR across Euroland and taking jobs away from the UK.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

10 September 2015
By having factories in different parts of the world you spread the risks with currency fluctuations. It's a very good way of guarding yourself against such losses. And if everybody was thinking as you "taking jobs away from UK" then there would be hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Brits without a job since all of those foreign manufacturers building car factories in UK wouldn't be there.

bezor Ta

25 May 2015
In case of a British exit from the incumbent EU, it makes sense for JLR to have a second production site outside Britain. Also JLR is at high risk from the british trade unions who can cripple the company's production any time it wants.

25 May 2015
shortbread wrote:
In case of a British exit from the incumbent EU, it makes sense for JLR to have a second production site outside Britain. Also JLR is at high risk from the british trade unions who can cripple the company's production any time it wants.
Good point. Logic to me would dictate that JLR has a tie-up with Suzuki to develop small SUVs and broaden portfolio of products, so my money would be on Hungary.

25 May 2015
JLR already has a number of sites outside the UK - One in China (sooner to be two) One in India, one in Saudi, or as near to complete as it can be, the Mexico plant is definitely going ahead, there will be a new plant in the US, as well as expansions to the UK operations - Another in Eastern Europe is the way to go, where a low profit margin product can be made at a better price. As for Jaguars Quality - Soldi, you, as you usually do, always make wild statements without factual evidence, if Jaguars were as bad as you say they are, why is that they are always extremely well placed in customer satisfaction surveys, by the people that own then... so forgive me if i ignore you, NONE of our Jaguars has ever been a problem, you keep you ill informed comments to yourself.

25 May 2015
jonboy4969 wrote:
Soldi, you, as you usually do, always make wild statements without factual evidence, if Jaguars were as bad as you say they are, why is that they are always extremely well placed in customer satisfaction surveys, by the people that own then...
Your ignorance is astonishing. I'm sure you agree that the 67,000 owners surveyed by AutoExpress for DriverPower represents the biggest survey of its kind in the UK. Those Jaguar owners surveyed experienced poor reliability leading to low satisfaction. And Land Rover was the worst of the lot. Why not go read it and enlighten yourself? You may learn something useful to put on your BlogSpot that nobody reads.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week