Jaguar Land Rover is planning to spend £2.75 billion each year for the next four years on new products and new production capacity around the world. But chief executive Ralf Speth insists that the rapid global expansion will not come at the expense of its interests in the company’s British heartland.
“It is absolutely critical that we diversify production around the world, but to be absolutely clear, we have an absolute commitment to the UK and will continue to invest there as long as we have free and fair trade,” Speth told Autocar.
“But a global footprint is critical to our UK stability. That is why we already assemble cars in India (the XF and Freelander), which is a low-volume first step there, we are working on our joint venture with Chery in China, and we are investigating possibilities in Saudi Arabia, where we can see a flourishing automotive business thriving one day.”
JLR has a number of advantages in its quest to dramatically increase sales and expand its global footprint. It is enjoying booming sales and the SUV market is increasing.
“You have to invest in big amounts of seed in order to reap the harvest, which is what we are doing,” said Speth. “We see the cycle as powering growth. The amounts we are investing are very large, but I think we can keep that momentum. It is not a case of investing now and then pausing; as we invest in product and deliver more cars, I expect we can keep going forward at the same rate.”
But the company will probably have to borrow to feed the massive investment that’s being planned. JLR’s profits for 2012-2013 are expected to exceed £1.6 billion. Profit margins in the final three months of 2012 slipped to 14 per cent from 17 per cent, but that’s still way ahead of BMW’s 10.9 per cent margin in 2012.