Jaguar Land Rover has opened its state-of-the-art $1.59 billion manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia.
While the core of its business is in the United Kingdom, Jaguar Land Rover’s investment in Nitra marks the latest step in the company’s global expansion strategy following the opening of its Chinese joint venture in 2014 and Brazilian plant in 2016, JLR officials said.
The creation of new international factories allows Jaguar Land Rover to offer its customers even more exciting new models, protect against currency fluctuations and support a globally competitive business.
“Global businesses require global operational footprints. While Jaguar Land Rover’s heart and soul remain firmly anchored in the U.K., expanding internationally only enriches and strengthens our U.K. business,” Ralf Speth, JLR CEO.
“Today’s opening of our next-generation manufacturing plant in Nitra, Slovakia, represents the start of a new era in manufacturing for Jaguar Land Rover. It is the latest milestone in our long-term globalization program and the culmination of four years planning,” he added.
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“As with our existing manufacturing facilities located in the U.K., China, Brazil, India and Austria, this high-tech plant in Slovakia will complement and support our corporate, R&D and engineering functions headquartered in the U.K.,” Speth said.
The plant in Slovakia is opening at time when JLR, like other automakers, is grappling with the fallout from Brexit, which threatens to drive up the cost of building vehicles in the U.K. Like other carmakers such as Toyota and Ford, JLR has been outspoken about the potentially dire consequences of Great Britain leaving the European Union without an agreement on key economic issues such as tariffs.
Jaguar Land Rover currently employs around 1,500 people in Nitra, 98% are Slovak nationals and 30% are women. It will launch its second phase of recruitment in November looking for an additional 850 people to join the world-class team in Nitra.
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All manufacturing employees have taken part in a 12-week training program in the company’s first overseas Training Academy, representing an investment of $8.53 million. “Our diverse workforce brings a wealth of experience from both automotive and broader industries. I am delighted to officially welcome our Slovak team to the Jaguar Land Rover global family today,” Speth said.
The new 300,000 square-meter facility stands at the forefront of aluminum manufacturing and engineering expertise in Slovakia, with an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year. Supporting the company’s on-going commitment to deliver high technology lightweight vehicles to its customers, the first Land Rover Discovery rolled off the production line in September.
The factory has been designed with the flexibility to enable smart, connected manufacturing technologies, such as shop floor visualization by using real time data to solve issues which will support improved process efficiency, delivery and quality.
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Europe has the largest number of Jaguar Land Rover retailers with almost 800 outlets across 42 countries. Since the beginning of 2018, Jaguar Land Rover has sold more than 94,000 vehicles in Europe.