Discovery production to move from Solihull to Nitra, Slovakia; next-generation Evoque production to remain at Halewood
Jaguar Land Rover has announced an overhaul of its UK manufacturing operations, revealing plans for a new family of Range Rover models, and the moving of Discovery production to JLR’s new facility in Nitra, Slovakia.
A JLR statement also detailed plans for a refit at the Halewood production facility ahead of the next Range Rover Evoque’s launch next year – meaning the entry-level Range Rover will continue to be produced at the plant. As well as this, JLR says “a significant investment and technology upgrade” in Solihull will prepare the plant for other new and upcoming Land Rover models. These will be the next Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, which will be built on an all-new architecture.
It is also possible that the Jaguar J-Pace, the Discovery’s sister car, will be built in Solihull, possibly alongside a new family of electrified and electric Jaguar Land Rover cars coming next year, including the relaunched XJ and Road Rover EVs. A company spokesman said that the refit would free up extra capacity from the Solihull factory. The Road Rover is expected to be launched before the start of the next decade, while the Jaguar J-Pace is expected in 2021.
No expansion in the Solihull factory’s overall capacity is planned as a result of the shift in production, but JLR claims the planned change in models helps to futureproof the facility. The investment in the UK facilities is said to be in the «hundreds of millions».
The opening of the Nitra plant was originally intended to take pressure off JLR’s UK factories, sharing Discovery production with the Solihull plant. Instead, Nitra will now produce all Discovery models.
JRL released a statement about the move, saying: “The decision to move the Land Rover Discovery to Slovakia and the potential losses of some agency-employed staff in the UK is a tough one but forms part of our long-term manufacturing strategy as we transform our business globally.”
In April, JLR laid off 1000 of its 40,000-strong UK workforce following a 21% downturn in UK demand, a 12% decrease in European demand in the first three months of the year, and a 20.9% decrease until the end of May.
Around 46,000 Discoverys are made annually in Solihull, with 80% of these heading for foreign markets. The move to Slovakia for Discovery production takes effect at the start of 2019. The Discovery makes up around 10% of Land Rover’s total sales.