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May 20, 2020

First ‘social distance’ Range Rover comes off Solihull line

The first Range Rover made under new social distancing measures drove off the production line at Tata Motors owned Jaguar Land Rover's assembly plant in Solihull, England, today (20 May) following the recent temporary pause in production due to the coronavirus pandemic.

By Olly Wehring

The first Range Rover made under new social distancing measures drove off the production line at Tata Motors owned Jaguar Land Rover’s assembly plant in Solihull, England, today (20 May) following the recent temporary pause in production due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Effective social distancing, hygiene and health monitoring measures are in place following an extensive review of all production lines, engineering facilities, office areas and communal spaces as the company started a phased return to manufacturing.

Employees’ health and wellbeing are at the centre of this plan and, with the implementation of the new protocol, staff experience a significant number of changes to their working day from the moment they enter the site.

Measures include temperature checks with thermal cameras, a two metre distance between people wherever possible, Personal Protective Equipment where that is not the case, the introduction of one way systems and enhanced cleaning at the plants.

Jaguar Land Rover is also offering every employee a reusable face visor made by the company.

Grant McPherson, executive director, manufacturing, said: “Seeing the first Range Rover come off our line today is a defining moment for Jaguar Land Rover, for all of us who work for the company and the many businesses in our supply chain. It marks the end of our temporary shutdown and signals the beginning of a return to normality. But, of course, this is a new normal.

“People will be experiencing many emotions, ranging from worry about hygiene to relief at being able to return to work and excitement at seeing colleagues again. The health and wellbeing of our employees has been our primary concern in the build-up to this point.”

Workers must take additional actions before returning to work. These include completing an online clinical questionnaire, signing up to a health and wellbeing charter, and monitoring their temperature at home before each shift.

Production of JLR vehicles also resumed this week at the new European plant in Nitra (Slovakia) and under contract at Magna Steyr in Graz (Austria).

Last week the Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton, England began building Ingenium engines again to enable the gradual return to vehicle production.

Manufacturing will resume at Halewood, England, on 8 June, starting with one shift.

“Small pockets of business critical activity” are taking place at Castle Bromwich as JLR prepares for new model year introductions. 

The joint-venture plant in Changshu (China) has been operational since the middle of February as vehicle sales recover there and customers return to showrooms following the easing of the lockdown.

As countries are relaxing distancing guidelines and retailers are reopening around the world, the restart of production at the company’s other plants will be confirmed later.

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