HISTORY was made at the home of Land Rover in Solihull this week after the first Jaguar vehicle rolled off the production line.
Jaguar’s new XE saloon is being produced in all-new production facilities at the Lode Lane plant following an investment of almost £2 billion in infrastructure and technology.
The £500m ‘factory within a factory’ consists of a new body shop and trim and final facilities and represents the largest single investment in the Solihull plant in its 70-year history.
The factory opening was commemorated by employees who took part in a celebration of the company’s rich and world-renowned motoring brands.
The arrival of the XE in Solihull means it sits alongside production of the Land Rover Defender, Land Rover Discovery, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
JLR said the latest development means production has almost trebled at the Lode Lane plant and the workforce has doubled.
And the dividends are also being felt throughout the supply chain, with suppliers having been awarded £4 billion in contracts for the XE including Rugby based Automotive Insulations, which manufactures thermal and acoustic insulation, and has invested in a new 65,000 sq. ft. premises to accommodate its expanding workforce in preparation to supply the Jaguar XE.
Solihull Operations Director, Alan Volkaerts, was joined by legendary British motor racing driver Sir Stirling Moss OBE, Jaguar’s highly-regarded test driver, Norman Dewis OBE, who developed no less than 25 significant Jaguar cars and Land Rover aficionado Quentin Willson.
Speaking at the official opening, Mr Volkaerts said: “This really is an incredibly special day for Jaguar Land Rover and the team here at Solihull, many of whom have witnessed the plant change beyond all recognition in recent time.
“The arrival of the new Jaguar XE marks a new chapter in the history of this plant and showcases the flexibility of our manufacturing operation thanks to a strategic investment in aluminium technologies and infrastructure.
“I speak on behalf of the whole team when I say what an incredible privilege it is to be producing not one, but two of the world’s best loved motoring brands.”
Jaguar XE’s lining up ready for inspection on the production line at the Lode Lane plant. (s)
The ‘factory within a factory’ has a new body shop and trim facilities to make the Jaguar XE. (s)