JLR to set up vehicle manufacturing plant in India
May 31, 2012: India is a promising car market, irrespective of the various challenges of infrastructure and other macro-economic factors. Reason enough that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to set up a vehicle manufacturing plant to gain a stronger foothold here, as well as build an export base. This is in addition to the assembly plant which was inaugurated on May 27, 2011.
Autocar Professional learns from a senior industry professional that the new facility is being planned and will have an annual production capacity of 40,000-45,000 units. “It will start with the assembly of the DC 100 (new Land Rover Defender),” says our source. “Everything about JLR’s business activities is positive now,” says a source in the UK, who is aware about the company’s plan of setting up a manufacturing plant in India. “Import duties on cars in India are a dampener. Manufacturing in these markets will help,” our source adds.
As the Tata-JLR relationship progresses, there will be more of localisation of JLR models here as well as sharing of platforms with Tata Motors. “We are looking at producing the platform for the new Defender in India, then modifying it so it can be shared with a Tata product,” Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Motors, told our sister magazine Autocar India in an exclusive interview that appeared in the magazine’s February 2012 issue.
The new Defender was showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo at the beginning of this year. When contacted for an official comment over e-mail, JLR’s PR and communications manager in India, Del Sehmar responded saying he cannot comment on the matter as regulations don’t allow him to do so before the quarterly results of JLR’s parent Tata Motors.
JLR India, which started its sales operation in mid-2009, is on a growth path. During the last financial year, sales stood at 2,288 cars, a strong growth over the 891 cars it sold the previous year. JLR currently has an assembly plant in Chikhali, near Pune, which assembles the Freelander 2 SUV. According to an earlier announcement, in May 2011, sales of the vehicle grew over four times in the last fiscal compared to those in the previous year. With this acceptance of the brand and the market potential, JLR seems to be setting up the plant to be more competitive in India. JLR currently sells five models under each of its brands in India.
Under Tata Motors’ ownership, JLR is gradually expanding its penetration in various markets and, more importantly, taking steps to be more competitive. The announcement last September about setting up its own engine manufacturing plant in the UK is an example. A similar plant is also being planned for India, which JLR chief Ralf Speth confirmed to the media at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Autocar Professional had broken this story in its June 1, 2011 issue.