At a pre-Geneva motor show press conference, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralph Speth announced that the company is to create an additional 700 jobs at its still-unopened engine facility in Wolverhampton.
Jaguar Land Rover had previously committed £350m and 750 jobs to the new plant, which is still being constructed on the i54 business park on the border between Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire.
Today’s announcement will see those numbers rise to £500m invested and almost 1500 employees by the time the factory comes on stream, most likely in 2015. The news comes just two months after JLR announced it would create an extra 800 jobs at its Solihull plant.
The new i54 plant will make engines of “up to four cylinders” and will play significant part in shedding Jaguar Land Rover’s dependence on the Ford-sourced engines it uses today.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Director of Group Sales, Phil Popham, told Autocar that the company wants “strategic control” of its powerplants, and that a new generation of petrol and diesel engines is currently being developed.
The news comes as Jaguar Land Rover enjoys a period of sustained growth. With one month remaining before the end of its financial year it has already broken its previous annual sales record, selling over 360,000 vehicles during 2012.
Thanks in no small part to the Range Rover Evoque, its sales were up 71 per cent year on year in China, 19 per cent in the UK and 33 per cent throughout the rest of the EU.
Speth confirmed that eight new or revised models will join the model line-ups during 2013, including a diesel-electric hybrid variant of the new Range Rover.