Business leaders in the region have praised Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to set up a £355m advanced engine site near Wolverhampton. It is claimed up to 150 West Midlands businesses will benefit from the decision with up to 750 highly-skilled engineering and manufacturing posts set to be created.
The car maker, owned by Indian firm Tata, is planning to build low-emission engines on a 297-acre site at the i54 business park in South Staffordshire – recently named as an enterprise zone site. The move was welcomed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and business secretary Vince Cable, who are currently in Birmingham for the Liberal Democrats’ party conference.
Cable said: “This announcement sends out strong signals to potential inward investors across the world and is a huge vote of confidence in our successful automotive sector in the UK and the skills and expertise in our workforce.”
Clegg added: “Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to build its new engine plant in Wolverhampton is fantastic news.”
Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive officer at JLR, said the site will focus on the manufacture of “advanced technology low emission” four-cylinder JLR petrol and diesel engines.
He added: “As part of our long-term strategy for the JLR business, we will design, engineer and manufacture a new family of advanced engines.
“This is a major commitment for our company and we will produce these advanced, highly-efficient engines for future Jaguar and Land Rover models at a new facility in the UK.
“As we invest £1.5bn a year for the next five years on new product developments, expanding our engine range will help us realise the full global potential of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands.”
Simon Griffiths, chief executive of the Manufacturing Advisory Service – West Midlands (MAS-WM), said: “It is excellent news for West Midlands’ manufacturing.
“In addition to hundreds of direct jobs that will be created, there will also be countless opportunities for the supply chain to benefit from more local sourcing. The new plant will almost certainly mean new engine models and there will be significant potential for West Midlands firms and our outstanding R&D institutions to be involved in helping JLR in the design process.
“Using our knowledge of the supply chain we would expect up to 150 local companies could be involved and this ranges from experts in gears and engine controls to specialists in castings, valve systems and fluid transmission. However, there is no room for complacency and it is our role as the region’s leading manufacturing support body to reiterate this message time and time again.”
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “This is tremendous news for Staffordshire and Wolverhampton, the Midlands and the UK.
“When made aware of the interest in the site by Jaguar Land Rover, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet, along with that in Wolverhampton, acted promptly and decisively in making the decision to invest in it. We worked hard in a short space of time to make absolutely sure our bid met the expectations of a world leading company.”
Richard Butler, CBI regional director for the West Midlands, added: “This is fantastic news for the region and for UK manufacturing, and will create opportunities up and down supply chains.
“This investment underlines Tata’s commitment to grow the JLR brand and the attractiveness of the region as a place for world-class manufacturers to set up shop.”