5 November 2003

The long-term future of Jaguar’s Brown’s Lane factory hangs in the balance until investment plans for the new XK and S-type are fixed, probably late next year.

Both models will be variants of the aluminium XJ platform and Jaguar must decide whether to build all three at the same plant, such as Castle Bromwich in Birmingham, or if investment is to be split with Brown’s Lane.

Castle Bromwich is Jaguar’s most significant plant in the West Midlands and the home of its aluminium technology. New press and body assembly lines make the alloy XJ; separate lines press and assemble the XK and S-type in steel. S-type final assembly also takes place there.Brown’s Lane may be Jaguar’s HQ and spiritual home, but factory operations are limited to final assembly of the XJ and XK, and a specialist wood shop.

The future of Brown’s Lane is increasingly under discussion as Ford applies pressure on PAG to increase profitability. Ford CEO Nick Scheele denied any closure plan at the Tokyo Motor Show.A spokesman repeated the denial after The Birmingham Post reported that ministers had been told of closure plans: ‘This is nothing but speculation and it hasn’t been discussed, formally or informally with Government.'

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