London: In a major boost to Brexit-hit UK, Tata Motors’ owned Jaguar Land Rover on Friday announced ambitious investment plans leading to the creation of thousands of jobs in the country as part of its efforts to double its output by 2020.
JLR chief executive Ralf Speth confirmed the luxury car manufacturer’s aim of doubling its output to 1 million cars by 2020, which will include a big spike in the production of electric vehicles in Britain.
“We have a greater ambition. Why should we challenge ourselves to build more than a million cars. If we double the volume of our cars we can double the workforce. We can only do this in partnership,” Speth said at an automotive sector meeting at Warwick University in the West Midlands region of England on Thursday night.
He also indicated that the company was keen to bring the research and development and production of electric car batteries to Coventry and Warwickshire in the region.
However, he called on the UK government to help create the framework of connected digital roads and also a reliable 5g network to enable cars to communicate.
Speth said: “Germany is planning to be first and is planning the infrastructure as we speak. This is a race. We will be first or last.
“There must be a hub, a smart city creating real life proof of concept. Bring the lab to the streets, a living lab around Coventry and Solihull.”
UK Secretary of State Greg Clark, who was also present at the meeting, indicated the government was on board.
“The story of JLR is one of the proudest points of success we have. We could not be more aligned in the opportunity and our intentions. The pace of this is quickening all the time and so is our commitment to it. This is a big moment,” he said.
JLR currently has 40,000 staff employed in the UK.
While the firm declined to put a precise figure on how many jobs will be added by producing electric vehicles in Britain, the impact on the UK economy is expected to be significant.
Speth’s comment comes a week after the Tata Group firm had unveiled its new Jaguar I-Pace concept car simultaneously in London and Los Angeles.
The all-electric concept car will go into production later next year and is expected to hit the roads towards the end of 2018.