Jaguar Land Rover opens first engine plant
Range Rover owners, Jaguar Land Rover have created their first engine plant. This move could see engine re-manufacturing become part of their increasingly closed-loop oriented business strategy. The £500million plant, named the Engine Manufacturing Centre, built in Wolverhampton is set to become operational in the last quarter of 2014, allowing the company to manufacture their own engines for the first time. Work on the plant, on the site of Wolverhamton's new i54 technology park, started in July last year.
The plant boasts almost 100,000 square metres of internal floor area, equivalent to the area of 14 football pitches. It is made up of three manufacturing halls; one for machining the cylinder heads, cylinder blocks and crankshafts, one for assembling the diesel engines and one for assembling the petrol engines. Based at the heart of the UK, the plant is ideally located between the company's three other manufacturing sites at Halewood, Castle Bromwich and Solihull. By the time it reaches it's full capacity, over 1,400 jobs will have been created. The company is not giving out capacity figures but eventually plan for the plant to create an engine every 36 seconds.
Comments on the Jaguar Land Rover engine plant
Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Jaguar Land Rover, Jonathan Garrett, commented, “We have now got an asset, it is a logical extension to re-manufacturing later. The move would fit in with Jaguar Land Rover’s increased focus on a circular economy approach to car making.”
Prime Minister, David Cameron, commented during his inaugural visit on 14th February, “Whenever I come to one of your plants, it makes my spirits soar when I see such an exciting future for British manufacturing. Everywhere I go in the world I support Jaguar Land Rover. This is a great British success story. ” Going on to say, “The economy has been too focused on the South of England and too much on services. What we are seeing with this new JLR factory is a company putting people back to work in an area that was once the workshop of Europe. The British automotive sector has been very positive and we need in future to design more things, manufacture more things and train more people.”
Jaguar Land Rover's Executive Director, Mike Wright, commented, “Our world-class new facility incorporates the latest technologies meeting the highest standards of production and demonstrates our continued commitment to UK manufacturing. We are proud to show Prime Minister David Cameron around our plant today as our team begins to commission the equipment which will be used to manufacture our most advanced engines ever.”
Why the need for the Jaguar Land Rover engine plant?
The company decided to build their new plant to meet customer demand, Mike Wright explained, “Since JLR was formed we have continued to source engines from our previous parent Ford. We will continue to purchase six and eight cylinder engines from them as we still see growth even as the trend is towards smaller more efficient units. As we enter new markets we will still have a demand from certain buyers who want a larger engine.”
The company plan to use the plant to manufacture their most advanced four cylinder engines ever, with new low-friction and lightweight technologies and are expecting their first engines to come off the assembly line in early 2015 and could potentitally rival the likes of other brands with similar SUV vehicles like Audi.