► Jaguar XE start of production
► First Jag to be built at Land Rover
► XE made in Solihull alongside F-Pace
Today marks an important milestone in the history of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR): the XE starts production at Solihull, making it the first Jag to be built at a Land Rover factory.
JLR calls the 165,000sq m facility a ‘factory within a factory’ and hails £4 billion worth of contracts dished out to 55 UK-based suppliers to make the British company’s 3-series rival.
Tellingly, the company has confirmed today that 55% of components for the XE compact executive are made in the UK, benefiting the wider supply chain.
Why is Jaguar making the XE in Land Rover’s Solihull plant?
The British premium car maker has inherited a disparate mix of factories, stretching from Halewood in the north west of England to the Castle Bromwich and Solihull factories in Birmingham. Space is at a premium and the cars are being slotted into the factories where the lines have suitable technology and architectures.
Remember: the XE is closely related to the forthcoming F-Pace, which will also be manufactured in Solihull. Both cars will come out of what JLR calls ‘Europe’s largest aluminium body shop’ - a result of a £500 million investment by the company.
Click here for more Jaguar XE reviews, news, scoops, features and specs.
A success story for Solihull
On the surface, this is great news for the Solihull factory which, until now, has been producing solely Land Rover Defenders, Discoverys, Range Rovers and Range Rover Sports. The injection of Jags means that production is set to treble and the workforce has doubled within five years to 9000 staff.
Plant director Alan Volkaerts said: ‘This really is an incredibly special day for Jaguar Land Rover and the team here at Solihull, many of whom have witnessed the plant change beyond all recognition in recent times. The arrival of the new Jaguar XE marks a new chapter in the history of this plant and showcases the flexibility of our manufacturing operation thanks to a strategic investment in aluminium technologies and infrastructure.’
But now it’s the acid test: Jaguar is hoping the public will lap up its smallest saloon (and - in time - other XE bodystyles) to keep the production lines busy. Get it right, and this could secure the next stage of growth for Jag.