Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced 1,300 new jobs at its UK plant to build a new car model which will hit the road in 2016, as the upmarket manufacturer enters the booming sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment.
The additional workforce, intended for its Solihull plant in the West Midlands region of England, coincides with Jaguar's entry into the sports utility vehicle (SUV) sector with the?all-new Jaguar F-Pace unveiled at the Detroit auto show yesterday.
"The announcements once again demonstrate our commitment to the UK and the advancement of a high-tech, high skilled, manufacturing-led economy," said JLR CEO Ralf Speth.
"Jaguar Land Rover is committed to delivering more great products. It is that innovation and relentless quest for new technologies that sets our products apart. We want to offer customers greater choice, with even more exciting vehicles, crafted with that special British flair," Speth said.
"We want to improve the quality of life for our customers and for our own employees, creating opportunities for more people to be part of the Jaguar Land Rover experience," he added.
Applications for the 1,300 new roles are now open and will be in line with the company's commitment to enhance employment opportunities for former military personnel in the UK.
The Solihull plant currently builds the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Land Rover Discovery and the Defender. Most recently, the site welcomed the first Jaguar in its history with the introduction of the new Jaguar XE, referred to as a baby Jag, which begins production in a few months.
JLR posted profits of 2.5 billion pounds in its latest financial year and confirmed its fifth consecutive year of sustained growth under Tata's ownership. It announced record full-year retail sales in 2014 of 462,678, double that of 2008 and up 9 per cent from the previous year.
"A 2014-15 fiscal year investment of 3.75 billion pounds in product creation has seen the introduction of a host of new and exciting products and business expansion. The company's head count has increased to 32,000, which is 10,000 more than those who were employed just four years ago," the company said in a statement.
Andy Goss, JLR Group Sales Operations Director said: "In 2015 we will celebrate Jaguar's 80th year. We have started it by announcing our first performance crossover which we consider to be the ultimate practical sports car, a car that builds on the marque's founding ideals of Grace, Pace and Space to become one of the most innovative Jaguars we've ever developed".
"The F-Pace has now begun its engineering and development testing programme ahead of the new model going on sale in 2016," he said.
In 2014, Land Rover sold more Range Rovers, Range Rover Sports and Range Rover Evoques than ever before. Jaguar sales were also up 6 per cent for the year, retailing 81,570 vehicles ? marking the brand?s strongest full-year performance in nearly a decade.
Its newest Jaguar F-Pace model is being described as a true performance crossover, which is expected to fit between sister brand Land Rover's smallest model, the Evoque, and the range Rover Sport. It is the production version of the C-X17 concept SUV revealed back in 2013.
JLR was bought over by Tata Motors from Ford back in 2008 and currently employs 30,500 UK staff. Over the past year the company has seen a massive turnaround in its fortunes and invested nearly 1.5 billion pounds in new production facilities at its Solihull plant.
In October 2014, the company also launched a new engine plant in the West Midlands region, which is expected to generate a total of 5,500 jobs in the supply chain.
In the same month, JLR also opened a factory in China, which will have an initial capacity of 130,000 cars a year.
The firm is also opening a factory in Brazil and is in talks about building a plant in the US.