In 2008 the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham was under threat of closure – now it is to welcome a fourth model to its production lines as the XE saloon moves to the plant.
Jaguar Land Rover says that the decision to transfer production of the XE from its current home 7.5 miles away in Solihull, is the result of booming sales of not only the model but its crossover sister the F-Pace.
Both cars are built using the same aluminium architecture and this makes it viable to transfer production between sites. It is understood that by moving XE production to Castle Bromwich Solihull will be able to focus on building the F-Pace and the Range Rover Sport, another model that uses the same architecture.
At Castle Bromwich, a plant famous for building Spitfire aircraft during the Second Word War, the XE will be produced alongside its larger sister the XF (also built on the same aluminium platform), the even larger XJ and the F-Type sports car.
The changes see £100m of fresh investment in the Birmingham plant, primarily on new press lines, body shops and final assembly halls. The latest money sees JLR having made more than £1bn investment in the infrastructure of its sites at Solihull and Birmingham.
Jaguar Land Rover’s executive director of manufacturing Wolfgang Stadler describes the “significant investment to create two centres of excellence in aluminium vehicle manufacturing, utilising shared technologies”, as deliberate.
“It gives us the flexibility to quickly respond to consumer demand for our growing range of products,” he says.
And Castle Bromwich operations director Nicolas Guibert has welcomed the news in what he describes as a pivotal year for the plant.
“The arrival of the XE sees us increase our model lines and volume – this plant has a rich heritage and is undergoing its most significant transformation in decades, with major infrastructure projects either complete or under way,” he says.
“The commissioning of our all-new press line and launch of our body shop to support the introduction of XE means Castle Bromwich is future-proof,” Guibert adds.