Last week, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) announced it is investing hundreds of millions of pounds to build a range of electric vehicles at its Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham.
The news has been welcomed by many following JLR’s previous announcement in January to cut 4,500 jobs – the majority from the UK. The move will now help secure the jobs of 2,700 workers at the plant.
The plant will initially produce an electric version of the Jaguar XJ.
Chief executive Professor Ralph Speth said:
“The current charging infrastructure is not really sufficient to cover the country, nor the hotspots of the cities,” he said in an interview with the BBC.
“The government has to govern the process,” he added.
The investment by JLR however, does appear to contradict previous warnings made by the firm that investment in the UK would be threatened by Brexit, more specifically a no-deal scenario.
Industry experts however, say that JLR could not simply wait for the outcome of Brexit, and an update to its range of vehicles was required.
“Given where it is in its product lifecycle it [JLR] has to make this decision. The capacity is at Castle Bromwich and there’s research and development nearby as well, so they’ve basically run out of time on this decision,” David Bailey, a professor of business economics at Birmingham Business School, told the BBC’s Today programme.
He added that without the new investment the Castle Bromwich plant would “effectively be dead”.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Today’s announcement is a vote of confidence in the UK automotive industry – protecting thousands of skilled jobs.
“It reflects our determination for the UK to be at the forefront of the development and manufacturing of the next generation of electric vehicles.”
Image credit: Sky news
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