New XJ, J-Pace SUV and ‘Road Rover’ will be fruits of investment into Castle Bromwich plant as specialist electric production centre

Jaguar Land Rover is set to establish itself as one of the world’s leading makers of electric vehicles by converting its historic Castle Bromwich plant into a specialist EV production centre.

According to sources, three new pure-electric models will be rolling off the production lines by the end of next year to join the existing electric Jaguar I-Pace in showrooms.

The move is part of a major £1 billion investment in both Castle Bromwich and JLR’s factory in Solihull. Both are set to be massively overhauled in preparation for the British manufacturer’s new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) platform.

Despite relatively poor sales last year (the company sold 161,601 units, down 10% on the 2018), Jaguar is also getting a significant boost in the form of two new flagship models.

JLR has already confirmed that the replacement for the Jaguar XJ luxury saloon will be a battery-electric model. However, it’s understood that Castle Bromwich will also produce two more vehicles, both crossovers. Land Rover’s upcoming ‘Road Rover’ will be sold as a pure EV, while the new Jaguar J-Pace flagship will also be built at the plant as an EV.

All three new models are based on the MLA platform, which can be configured with three different types of drivetrain: battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional internal combustion engine.

Insiders say the I-Pace will continue to be built on its unique platform in Austria and have a “normal lifespan”.

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The MLA underpinnings will also be used for the next-generation Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, as well as the Discovery 6. It’s expected the majority of each of those models will be sold as plug-in hybrids as increasingly stringent global CO2 regulations continue to bite.

The new XJ’s production design is expected to be unveiled towards the end of this year, before the first examples roll out of Castle Bromwich in spring 2021.

Julian Thomson, Jaguar’s new director of design, revealed earlier this year that the car wouldn’t be benchmarked against established luxury saloons.

He described it as a “fabulous-looking thing” while admitting the styling is unconventional. “It will be a beautiful car, with an engaging drive and luxurious interior… a cabin ambience that’s calm and refreshing,” he said, implying that Jaguar is planning on the electric XJ being more of a car for driving than being driven in.

Rather less is known about the upcoming J-Pace and the Land Rover model known only by its ‘Road Rover’ nickname, which won’t be used in production. Both will be sold as EVs, so it’s expected that they will be in the mould of low-riding crossovers rather than conventionally bluff SUVs. With battery range all-important, smaller frontal areas will be a key element of these new-generation models.

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The J-Pace will be distinguished from the existing F-Pace (which will undergo a thorough facelift for the 2021 model year) by having a much more luxurious interior and more avant-garde styling, although it’s not expected to mirror the I-Pace too closely.

It’s also understood that the J-Pace will eventually be available with a conventional internal combustion engine powertrain. However, this variant is more likely to be built at Solihull alongside its new Range Rover sister vehicles, which will also use the MLA structure. This ICE version of the J-Pace will benefit from a new range of hybrid options, including the straight-six petrol unit already seen in the facelifted Range Rover Sport.

Given the success of the E-Pace and F-Pace, which easily outsell their XF and XE saloon siblings, the addition of the J-Pace family to the line-up will make Jaguar an SUV-led brand, reflecting Porsche and Volvo.

While the new XJ is around the corner, well-placed sources say the future of the XE, XF and F-Type aren’t yet set in stone.

The F-Type is said to be “quietly profitable” for the Jaguar brand, and the nameplate will live on, but the final form of its replacement hasn’t yet been signed off.

It’s believed that the shape of the new F-Type is far from being decided. Even though Jaguar’s design studio is said to have some very strong ideas, sources say other departments within the company have other plans for the model.

Jaguar sold 7227 examples of the F-Type globally last year. The 9% drop in sales that figure represents is nonetheless impressive for a car that was about to be facelifted, but part of the F-Type’s profitability comes from the fact that it was loosely based on the structure of the old XK, which reduced development costs.

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It’s unlikely that a sports car could be spun off the MLA platform, but a more bespoke architecture is possible for a small-run vehicle, as JLR has shown with the I-Pace and the new Land Rover Defender, both of which use structures that have been heavily modified from their base architectures.

Perhaps of greater concern to Jaguar is the fate of the XE and XF. Despite a mid-life facelift, only around 3550 examples of the XE were sold in the US and around 8000 in the EU last year. The residual sales of 14,000 were partly in China and otherwise spread thinly across the rest of the world.

Insiders say there have been discussions within Jaguar about replacing both the XE and XF with a crossover model of some description, but things haven’t advanced beyond that.

With the SUV segment hitting 38% of overall sales in the EU last year, making it the region’s biggest single segment and well ahead of superminis (which took 19%), it’s unsurprising that another crossover model has appeared on Jaguar’s radar. In contrast, the executive car segment accounted for just 2.3% of sales in the EU last year.

With the XE and XF’s current Castle Bromwich home set to be converted to all-EV production, uncertainty also surrounds where production will move to. A likely annual sales volume of around 40,000 leaves questions over the viability of continued production as JLR switches over to the MLA platform. Becoming fully electric is another option.

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Comments
9

23 March 2020

Gosh, with all this 'Jaguar activity' within JLR, you'd think the Jaguar brand was doing well.  Absolutely no real global interest in the Jaguar brand, with lacklustre, inconsistent product still - in 2020 - across their range.

Volvo's idea was much better.  And all their success with just one brand.  All that's required if you have the right product matched to the right brand.  

23 March 2020

JLR needs a long term partner. If it is to survive Tata need to let go. BMW would be a good it but Kia might be evenbetter. JLR simply cannot survive, invest and innovative on current volumes.

23 March 2020

Another kick in the teeth for all you remoaners. If we voted Brexit I thought the UK car industry ( what's left after most of it was decimated whilst were were part of the EU remember ) was going to collapse and there would be no investment?

 

23 March 2020
scotty5 wrote:

Another kick in the teeth for all you remoaners. If we voted Brexit I thought the UK car industry ( what's left after most of it was decimated whilst were were part of the EU remember ) was going to collapse and there would be no investment?

We haven't left with no deal as yet which will decimate JIT manufacturing unless JLR start to make all the parts they need in this country and this is JLR's own internal investment.  We'll just have to see just how much JLR vehicles will cost when export taxes are applied and how that will affect exports.  Then we'll see how long it takes for them to start making more cars in Slovakia for the EU market - quote from JLR about Nitra, Slovakia "The creation of new international factories allows Jaguar Land Rover to offer its customers even more exciting new models, protect against currency fluctuations " - that will take jobs away from UK

23 March 2020
Rtfazeberdee wrote:

scotty5 wrote:

Another kick in the teeth for all you remoaners. If we voted Brexit I thought the UK car industry ( what's left after most of it was decimated whilst were were part of the EU remember ) was going to collapse and there would be no investment?

We haven't left with no deal as yet...

We'll I couldn't have put it better than yourself, a deal has yet to be agreed, there is still a possibility of no deal but investment is still taking place? That isn't what remoaners said would happen.

I've been saying it from day 1 of the Brexit debate, the outcome never mattered, whether we voted for or against Brexit would make little difference. It's global conditions which didcates where investment takes place.

Nobody could have predicted what is happening today but again it's being played out on the global stage. As for the EU, well all member states ignored the advice given by Brussels and acted alone. The EU has been completely overrulled and become largely redundant in all of this crisis.  Who knows there may well be no EU when this mess is over and we find ourselves having to negotiate with European countries individually.

PS - The decision to build the Slovakia plant was taken well before Brexit was even a term. The concept, design and construction was started before the vote and whilst we were a full member of the EU. They were always going to build there. Sorry but we can't allow people to rewrite history to suit their argument.    

23 March 2020
scotty5 wrote:

Another kick in the teeth for all you remoaners. 

So the UK losing thousand of jobs in the motor industry, with volumes of cars dropping and contraction of the supply industry is not a kick in the teeth, but a sliver of good news is? (and this is good if modest). You brexiters are a peculiar bunch.

23 March 2020

 The only one I admire is the F type, the others I don't look at twice, there's no Jaguarness if you like, there generic looking, nothing other than the badges to indentify it.

23 March 2020

It is somewhat ironic that while Jaguar tries to reinvent itself as a global brand, or more specifically a European brand (cf. the rather generic European styling of many of its models), Brexiters like to predict and celebrate its British post-Brexit success.

Fine, but even if JLR can survive Brexit can it survive coronavirus? Again the incompetent UK government refuses to tackle coronavirus the continental way and instead spoke of 'herd immunity' and some such based on poor science, as if it was a point of patriotic honour to do things in a uniquely British, ie. anti-European, way. That sent the pound tumbling. The government's U-turn might have come too late with infected cases and death toll rising. If the situation is out of control its hard to imagine what the British & the world's post-corona economy is going to be like. If Brexit doesn't kill off JLR cornavirus might.

24 March 2020

If they are refitting Castle Brom for electric cars then it sounds like they will either kill off the XE and XF or move them to Slovakia.

Personally id wind up the XE first and see how the XF then gets on. Gut feeling is they may recover some sales.

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