Construction has started on a new Jaguar Land Rover manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia. According to the company, the 300,000 m² (3,229,173 ft²) factory—the equivalent of 164 ice-hockey rinks—will manufacture a range of all-new aluminum Jaguar Land Rover vehicles, supporting the company’s ongoing commitment to deliver high-tech lightweight cars to its customers.
“The start of construction in Slovakia today represents the beginning of a new phase in our plan to create a truly global business,” Dr. Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Executive Officer, said. “The factory will strengthen our international manufacturing capabilities as well as complement our existing facilities in the UK, China, India and Brazil.”
The £1 billion Slovakian plant will reportedly have an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles, with the first cars expected to come off the production line in late 2018. The Nitra facility will be the first in Europe to use KUKA’s Pulse carrier system, which is claimed to be 30% faster than conventional conveyance systems.
Meanwhile, JLR also doubled its investment in its engine plant in the UK to almost £1 billion—the largest injection into a new British manufacturing plant in decades, the company said.
With plans already in place to take Jaguar Land Rover’s three vehicle manufacturing plants in the UK close to their operating capacity, the creation of overseas manufacturing facilities delivers additional volumes needed to support the company’s future strategy. The opening of overseas manufacturing facilities allows the company to offer its customers even more new models, protect against currency fluctuations, and build a globally competitive business.
In 2012, JLR confirmed plans for its first overseas manufacturing plant when it signed a joint venture agreement with Chery Automobile Company Ltd in China. Since then, it has started production of the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery and the Jaguar XFL in China, opened its plant in Brazil, agreed to a new contract manufacturing partnership with Magna Steyr in Austria, as well as introduced three new vehicles to its local assembly facility in India.