Jaguar Land Rover is reported to be poised to announce a huge investment in its Castle Bromwich plant to produce a new all-electric Jaguar XJ and other electric models.
News of the investment, which will amount to hundreds of millions of pounds, was reported in the Sunday Times on June 30.
The report said the new XJ would be the first of three electric vehicles to be built from a common skeleton – Jaguar’s new ‘modular longitudinal architecture’ – at Castle Bromwich.
The Sunday Times report said the new XJ will be capable of travelling almost 300 miles on a single charge and that it is due to go on sale next year.
Other electric models are also reported to be in the pipeline, including a large SUV and a third as yet unspecified model.
According to the Sunday Times preparations will start imminently, with the Birmingham factory shutting for six weeks so the production line can be retooled.
It said the Coventry car maker is set to make an announcement this week, hailing it as “a rare dose of good news for an industry battered by Brexit uncertainty and the shift away from diesel”.
Although Nissan secured what it described as “a secret promise” of state aid from the government in 2016 to insulate it from a hard Brexit, the Sunday Times said sources close to Jaguar said the Castle Bromwich investment was going ahead without government cash.
The investment will come hot on the heels of workers voting for proposals to work a four-day week.
The yes vote was hailed by the trade union Unite as securing the future of the Castle Bromwich plant and paving the way for future investment.
Part of Jaguar Land Rover’s ongoing restructuring plans, the proposal saw workers agree to a fundamental change to the way they work.
However, their hours will not be cut and workers will still work a 37-hour week.
A Jaguar Land Rover spokesman revealed 84 per cent of the workforce voted in favour of the four-day week plan.
The Castle Bromwich plant, just off Junction 5 of the M6 in Birmingham, is currently home to Jaguar, with most ‘Big Cats’ made there, and it employs around 2,500 people.
It is understood existing models such as the XE, XF and F-Type will continue to be made there, along with the new electric XJ.
Although the XJ will initially be all-electric it is believed hybrid and petrol models will come on stream later.
When it announced the ballot on the change, Jaguar Land Rover said the four-day week proposals would help “attract new models and increase job security”.
Known as The Merlin Gateway Agreement, workers were told about the new plan as part of the end of the existing XJ – Jaguar’s flagship saloon.
The Merlin Gateway Agreement was developed with the trade union Unite.
XJ production will come to an end on July 5 after 10 years.
The Jaguar brand has been the electric pioneer for Jaguar Land Rover, with the I-Pace being the first all-electric vehicle launched by the car maker.
Earlier this year the I-Pace, which is made under contract by Magna Steyr in Austria, won three World Car of the Year awards.
The batteries for the new electric XJ will be made at a new factory being built in Hams Hall, Warwickshire, while the electric motors will be made at Jaguar Land Rover’s engine plant on the i54 business park near Wolverhampton.
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