Land Rover has previously show off some concepts indicating how the Defender replacement might look
News about Tata Motors' UK success story - Jaguar Land Rover - always seems to attract a lot of interest from just-auto readers. That was certainly so this week.
An assembly plant planned for Brazil is an open secret, confirmed in general terms on several recent occasions. Still to come, officially, are the details - like where, spend, capacity, start date and models to be built. But, if you're openly recruiting for top management staff as JLR reportedly was this week, you must be pretty close to having all the ducks in a row.
JLR is likely to be prompted to announce its move very soon as several of its rivals are piling in and shouting about it. We heard this week that Daimler's Mercedes - after an abortive attempt to build and sell the A-class there from the late 90s - is back Having Another Go, with a new plant to assemble the next generation C-class and GLA. This all starts in 2016 with a much more modest aspiration of 20,000 units a year. That original A-class plant didn't go to waste - after being used for KD assembly of the C-class for the US as German plants were operating to the max, and later the CLC, it was converted to build heavy trucks.
BMW is also readying a Brazilian assembly plant and Audi plans again to build some A3 models (again) using parent VW's plant to keep capital spend down. All this has come about because Brazil wants to further develop its local auto industry, with the skills and supply chain benefits that come with that, and has slapped high tariffs on imported vehicles to encourage as much local assembly with as many local parts as possible. JLR sells mostly Land Rovers in Brazil and pundits are predicting that the Freelander - already built from kits at a Tata plant in India - will be first down the line.
Still with JLR, we've also heard more on the future Defender - the 'original' Land Rover. The current model is an evolution of the 1948 original and it's a brave automaker that drastically updates such a core model with a strong and loyal following. VW's done it well with the Beetle, Ford with the Mustang; I do look forward to seeing what Land Rover eventually unveils.
The strike in South Africa rumbles on and this week came the inevitable - a strong warning from BMW - long a stalwart of local build - that the country's reputation as a reliable source of 3 series cars was at risk and was likely to affect future investment plans.
Finally we learned that, after deciding to call the redesigned X-Trail the new Rogue for North America, Nissan has decided to keep the old Rogue running as well, and build even more of the new one at Samsung in Korea, supplementing US output at Smyrna.
Have a nice weekend.
Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com