In a recent development, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has disclosed plans to electrify one of its iconic vehicles, the Defender. However, production of this electrified version will take place at JLR’s manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia, rather than in the UK.
This decision doesn’t come as a surprise to the industry, as the renowned British automaker has been manufacturing the internal combustion engine (ICE) version of the Defender and Discovery SUVs in Slovakia since 2018.
JLR’s move to electrify its iconic SUV is part of a broader commitment to introduce a total of nine fully electric models by 2030. The company is set to make a substantial investment of £15 billion over the next five years in electric vehicle (EV) development, as reported by Reuters. However, the decision to shift production abroad may disappoint those who hoped to see JLR’s EVs manufactured in the UK.
The move follows a period of prolonged decline in the UK automotive industry. Bloomberg‘s data reveals that the UK auto sector manufactured 775,000 vehicles in 2022, marking a 10% decline compared to the previous year. The situation could worsen if a 10% tariff is imposed next year on EVs traded between the UK and the European Union.
Despite these challenges, there is some positive news for the British auto industry. JLR earlier announced its intention to produce six Range Rover and Jaguar electric models at its UK plants in Solihull and Halewood, according to Reuters.
Earlier this month the automaker, which India’s Tata Motors owns, opened a new £250 million test facility in Coventry.
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Lisa Watson, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, welcomed the move describing it as “especially pertinent with the government’s 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles looming.”
However, she added a word of caution: “What isn’t clear, however, is the subsidy package provided by the government. Though funding is necessary and positive, the UK automotive industry will be hoping that government support will also be available to other businesses who are critical to the progress and success of EV adoption and infrastructure.”