Land Rover builds and sells 400,000 cars a year, and while many are made in the UK, the company is rapidly expanding its overseas production.
The UK still builds the majority — Halewood the ‘D8’ steel-platform Evoque/Discovery Sport, and Solihull the alloy-bodied ‘D7u’ Range Rover/Range Rover Sport and steel-bodied ‘T5’ platform Discovery.
Solihull will shortly close down the T5 line and switch production of the new alloy-bodied Discovery to the ‘D7u’ line where the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are built.
It is very likely that the 2017 Range Rover Sport Coupé will be made at Solihull too, on the plant’s second line, which currently assembles the Jaguar XE, XF and F-Pace.
However, the UK’s grip on Land Rover production is reducing rapidly, with three new overseas plants adding more than 300,000 units of capacity as part of owner Tata’s latest £4 billion investment in new plant and models.
In China, a £1bn joint-venture plant with Chery has been building the Evoque and Discovery Sport since October 2014. It can build 130,000 units a year, although faltering sales in the Chinese new car market may yet slow this down.
Smaller scale, but just as strategically significant, is the new £240 million plant in Brazil that’s due to start making its first cars this summer. Its capacity is 20,000 a year, of the Evoque and the Discovery Sport.
Of more significance is the new £1bn greenfield plant in Nitra, Slovakia. It is scheduled to have an eventual workforce of 2800 that will build 150,000 cars a year from 2018.
The Slovakian facility will be a high-tech plant capable of building aluminium-bodied cars. It will ease the pressure on Solihull, which is currently running at full capacity.
There’s no word yet on which models will be built in Slovakia, although the opening date in 2018 is close to the launch date of the new Defender.