Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced that Jaguar will stop building cars with internal combustion engines by 2025, shaking up its operations in the UK.
In a drive to become a leader in luxury EVs in the vein of Tesla, Jaguar will stop building all cars with internal combustion engines within four years, offering only EVs from 2025.
The transition will involve a consolidation of JLR’s UK facilities, which are located across the Midlands; car production will move from its Castle Bromwich factory – where it planned an electric version of the Jaguar XJ – to Solihull. CEO Thierry Bollore said that the firm is looking at the possibility of repurposing the Castle Bromwich plant, which employs 2,500 people, leading to speculation that it could be used for EV battery production. Bollore spoke of prioritising “quality and profits over volume”, but said that its three UK factories will be retained.
JLR suffered a 24 per cent decrease in the number of cars sold last year overall, as the coronavirus pandemic struck the auto industry.
Jim Holder, editorial director of Autocar, commented that Jaguar’s move towards the luxury EV market “in the vein of Tesla” will be a serious challenge. Jaguar has just one all-electric model (the Jaguar iPace) which accounts for just four per cent of sales despite being well-received, and 57 per cent of cars it sold last year were pure petrol or diesel.
“If it can pull it off then the prospect of making higher margins on fewer sales should be enough to sustain a brand that in its current form is ailing to the point of struggling to justify its existence,” he commented. “The fact that a significant proportion of its sales last year were electrified shows that the customer base is at least alert to the possibilities of these new technologies.”
Meanwhile, Land Rover will aim to produce its first all-electric model in 2024 as it phases out internal combustion engines, and all JLR models will have the option of a battery engine by 2030. It is also developing fuel-cell technology that uses hydrogen to power zero-emission cars.
The company will also aim for net-zero carbon emissions by 2039, having been fined £35m last year for failing to reach EU emissions targets.
Bollore said: “We have all the ingredients at our disposal to reimagine the business and the experiences our customers seek, to reimagine to benchmark of luxury, to lead on sustainable and quality as a business as Jaguar and as Land Rover.”
“We all have the ingredients to define what modern luxury means in the world of tomorrow. As a business we will be focused on value creation, on delivering quality and profits over volume,” he continued. “Our vision is clear – to become the creator of the world’s most desirable luxury vehicles and services for the most discerning of customers.”
The announcement was welcomed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as “a huge step for British car manufacturing”.
Meanwhile, Coventry will seek planning permission to build an EV battery plant in a bid to maintain the tradition of automotive production in the West Midlands through the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit. Coventry City Council says that the project could attract £2bn in investment and create thousands of jobs. It said that if plans are passed, the site could be operational by 2025.