UK: Tata Jaguar Land Rover CEO hails company transformation to 'global business'
Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) CEO, has told journalists that after a record breaking 2013, the company is looking forward to further volume expansion and gaining a global operational footprint.
"What a year we have had," said Dr Speth. "It has been phenomenal for growth and the progression of our business. We now want to transform our business from a UK-centric one to a global business with a new operational footprint," he said.
His remarks come hot on the heels of the announcement of a new JLR plant for Brazil. Turning to 2014, Speth highlighted the company's planned manufacturing presence there.
"We are on track in China. We are deeply impressed with the speed with which you can do something in China. The first vehicles will come off the production line [in China] next year."
Jaguar Land Rover has established a joint venture company with Chery Automobile Company Ltd representing an investment of RMB 10.9bn (circa GBP1bn). The JV, which will be operational in 2014, is based at Changshu, in the Jiangshu Province.
JLR recently told the Chinese government that it aims to sell 100,000 vehicles in China in 2014, compared with around 80,000 this year.
Mike Wright, Executive Director at JLR, also told just-auto that the next phase in JLR's development is to evolve from being a UK-based business that exports to the rest of the world (around 85% of the company's revenue comes from overseas sales). "In the next phase, we become a global business that is also based in the UK," he said. "These are exciting times for us."
He also said that the company is experiencing little adverse impact from the official clampdown on corruption and 'bling' that has hit demand for some luxury products in China. "We are working carefully to be positioned with the right brand image and the right infrastructure to sell in China where our products are in demand," he said. "And they clearly are."
Wright put down the continuing business success of JLR to three factors.
"Firstly, there is a trend around the world that favours premium and that has undeniably helped us. We also have products that allow our customers to express their individuality and that has been key.
"Secondly, we have exploited the trend of globalisation and been able to exploit rapidly rising demand in emerging markets as well as the established developed markets.
"Thirdly, we have continued to invest heavily in new product. In this industry you have to invest in new product to succeed. Look at the young and vibrant model ranges we have - both Jaguar and Land Rover - and we are also fortunate to have a parent company that recognises the importance of maintaining the pace of this investment."