Sources close to Jaguar Land Rover and the British government have stated that news of fresh investment in the UK was imminent. When announced, this news will be a welcome boost to the UK car industry which has seen a raft of bad news in recent weeks. Honda recently stunned the sector by announcing the closure of its Swindon plant in 2021 shortly after Nissan said it was reversing plans to build the Nissan X-Trail in Sunderland.
In January, Jaguar Land Rover itself announced plans to cut 4,500 jobs in the next two years. It pointed to the declining popularity of diesel engines which currently power nearly 90 per cent of its range and a slump in sales in China which had been its most profitable market.
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that sales of UK-made cars fell 72 per cent in the last month compared with a year earlier but sources at JLR said there were “green shoots of recovery” in the Chinese car market. The government hopes the new investment will confirm the UK still has an important role to play in the company's move to electric vehicles despite some existing model production being moved to Slovakia.
Tributes to Lord Battacharya
This news coincides with the death of India born Lord Kumar Battacharya, who founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group in the 1980s - a group of advanced engineering facilities clustered around Warwick University. Many in the car industry are paying tribute to him and his legacy. I'm told there are plans to mention Lord Battacharya's pioneering role in UK manufacturing. A close friend of both Tata Group's Chairman Ratan Tata and JLR's current chief executive, Ralf Speith, he is widely credited as instrumental in brokering Ford's original sale of JLR to Tata.