Jaguar Land Rover intends to start production in China within the next two years, although it stressed the move would not have implications for UK employment.

The Tata Motors division said it would produce "at least" two vehicle lines in China, most likely of the Land Rover variety, although it was unable to specify the location or investment costs. A partner for the venture is also being sought.

"There were a number of strategic opportunities to manufacture overseas," a JLR spokeswoman told just-auto.

"We do intend to produce at least two vehicle lines. Obviously it follows a detailed strategic analysis. China is a market that presents long term growth prospects and is a huge, emerging market for JLR.

Although declining to specify further details, the spokeswoman did note China had a high tax tariff on imported vehicles.

"Basically, our production in China would be incremental to UK production, it is not substitution for UK volume," said the spokeswoman.

"We do not have any more detailed information - it is too early. It [production] is likely to be a Land Rover. The expectation is it would take probably a minimum of two years before the operation could be up and running."

JLR also said it would evaluate whether to make permanent some of its planned 1,000 new temporary posts at its Halewood, Liverpool plant to produce the smaller Range Rover.

And the automaker also confirmed the plan to consolidate its West Midlands operations into one site, with a further announcement likely in the third or fourth quarter this year.