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Jaguar Land Rover opened its first wholly-owned manufacturing plant outside of the UK. Inaugurated on June 14, the new plant will build the Evoque and Discovery Sport models, the most popular vehicles of the brand in Brazil.
The new R$750 million (US$340 million) manufacturing facility and Education Business Partnership Centre is located in Itatiaia, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is the UK based automotive manufacturer’s first wholly-owned overseas facility, and marks a further phase in its global expansion strategy following the opening of its Chinese joint venture factory in 2014.
According to JLR, the creation of new international factories allows the company to offer its customers even more exciting new models, protect against currency fluctuations and create a globally competitive business.
“The opening of Jaguar Land Rover’s new world-class facility in Brazil marks the latest exciting milestone in our global expansion. Land Rover is already Brazil’s market-leader for mid-sized premium SUVs, accounting for more than 30% of all sales in that segment”, said Wolfgang Stadler, Executive Director, Manufacturing.
JLR has had a presence in the Brazilian market for over 25 years. In the first five months of 2016, sales increased 11% in Brazil. Land Rover is the leading premium SUV brand in Brazil and Jaguar is one of the country’s fastest growing premium brands with sales increasing 70% in the first five months of 2016.
As part of its on-going commitment to the Brazilian automotive industry, JLR has sourced major components such as the seats, cockpit, exhaust, chassis and powertrain assembly from local suppliers.
The new manufacturing plant includes JLR’s first overseas Education Business Partnership Centre, which will provide a range of classroom activities for up to 12,000 local children each year.
The company has forged strong links with local neighbourhoods, creating new programmes to inspire the next generation of automotive engineers. More than 100 people have completed the ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Workforce’ training programme launched in Itatiaia in 2015; 12 are now working at the new plant and many others are employed elsewhere within the automotive industry.
Furthermore, the factory includes a series of environmental features, such as rainwater collection and the planting of more than 1,200 indigenous trees to help preserve and improve the natural habitat around the factory. The automotive manufacturer says it is aiming to achieve the globally recognised LEED Gold sustainability accreditation, the first automotive vehicle assembly plant in Brazil to do so.