JAGUAR Land Rover has postponed its development of a major technology park intended to create thousands of jobs in Coventry.
The firm was set to invest approximately £500million into the 60-acre ‘Whitley South’ research and development site in the city, next to its existing headquarters.
A spokesperson said: “As a responsible business we are continuously reviewing our strategic decisions in line with business need.
“The automotive industry is facing unprecedented challenges with external headwinds continuing to impact sales.
“We have therefore taken the decision to postpone the development of the Jaguar Land Rover Technology Park on the Whitley South site.
“However, work on the New Propulsion Development Centre at our Whitley campus, which will support future powertrain development, is well underway.”
The scheme was to be developed in partnership with Coventry City Council and Warwick District Council.
Coventry council’s cabinet member for jobs and regeneration Councillor Jim O’Boyle said: “Infrastructure work at Whitley South is ongoing and remains on track.
“It is a major development and will include the new Battery Industrialisation Centre which the city won through the £80million Faraday Challenge, and which will further cement our role as a world leader in low emission vehicles and driverless technologies.
“We are working with Jaguar Land Rover on plans for the site, and are also talking to other firms about the potential Whitley, and the city of Coventry, can offer.”
As well as the research and development centre, the plans also include the provision for a bridge to be built across the A45 to link the JLR sites, hotel accommodation, catering and retail facilities, the creation of new areas of open public space and a country park between the new development and Baginton village.
Its postponement is another major blow to West Midlands manufacturing with tens of thousands of jobs in the supply chain.
The car manufacturer – based in Coventry and Solihull – has attributed its long-running difficulties to falling demand in diesel vehicles, Brexit-related market uncertainty and China slashing import tariffs.
It announced another worrying slump in sales in China last week in its quarterly report.
The latest setback comes amid a £2.5billion savings programme over the next year and beyond, which chiefs say will secure the company’s future.
The firm says it will continue its long term investment in the West Midlands and Coventry including further investment into electrification.
This includes a £500m investment in its Solihull factories, the construction of an electric technology Battery Assembly Centre at Hams Hall, North Warwickshire, and the investment in electric drive unit production in Wolverhampton.
Along with a new £80million UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in the Coventry and Warwickshire area, the technology park was intended to secure the city as the hub of its expansion and transition to the latest green technology.