A month after receiving government approval for the joint venture, Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover and Chery Automobile have laid the foundation stone for a new manufacturing facility in China.
The plant in Changshu, near Shanghai, part of a 10.9bn RMB investment that will also include a new research and development centre and engine production facility, is JLR‘s first full manufacturing operation outside England.
Jaguar and Land Rover models were once assembled from kits in markets like Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland, and Tata currently assembles Freelanders from English kits at its plant in Pune (though that looks likely to expand) but this is the first from-scratch full manufacturing operation in a foreign market. An announcement on a plant in Brazil is also expected before too long.
The project includes the creation of a new partnership brand to assemble models tailored specifically for the Chinese market, including the marketing and distribution.
JLR, which boosted China sales 80% year on year to 53,000 units in the first nine months of 2012, said the benefits of the joint venture to China include investment, job creation, advanced technology and low carbon solutions.
“The joint venture will blend together the heritage and experience of luxury premium vehicle manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover with the intricate knowledge and understanding of Chinese customers evident at Chery,” the JV said in a statement.
The equal partnership will be called – Chery Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Company.
Both companies are committed to investing heavily into product innovation and advanced technologies using a new research and development centre, more details of which will be released later.
The two companies plan to complete the Changshu facility in Jiangsu province during 2014. Construction of a new engine plant for production of fuel efficient engines is also part of the JV partnership agreement.
Jaguar XJ and XF models and the Range Rover Evoque are most popular in China.
Chery, the largest Chinese car exporter and one of the country’s most productive automotive manufacturers, has 15 years’ experience in the automobile industry.
“The partnership with Jaguar Land Rover signals the start of international expansion and strategic development for Chery Automobile,” the statement added.