Britain’s biggest car-maker Jaguar Land Rover has opened a new $485 million factory in Brazil where it will build luxury 4X4s for South America.
The new facility at Itatiaia in Rio de Janeiro will employ 400 people building the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport for Brazilian customers.
It is the expanding British car-maker’s first wholly owned factory outside the UK and the first UK automotive facility in Latin America. The new facility is expected to build around 20,000 vehicles a year.
The firm insists the expansion abroad is to ease pressure on British factories and expand closer to new markets, not to shift existing production abroad.
One in three premium sports utility vehicles (SUVs) sold in Brazil is a Land Rover, it points out.
The company said the new factory marks a further phase in its global expansion strategy following the opening of its Chinese joint venture factory in 2014. The creation of new international factories allows Jaguar Land Rover to offer its customers exciting new models, protect against currency fluctuations and create a globally competitive business.
At the factory inauguration, JLR’s executive director Wolfgang Stadler said: “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 per cent of all sales in that segment.
“The Range Rover Evoque and the Land Rover Discovery Sport will now be manufactured for the first time in Latin America, building on their existing popularity with customers in Brazil.”
The new plant includes Jaguar Land Rover’s first overseas Education Business Partnership Centre, which will provide a range of classroom activities for up to 12,000 children each year — with a view to educating a potential future workforce.
But the Brazil project is not the first overseas venture by JLR whose parent company is Indian industrial conglomerate TATA.
In China, Jaguar Land Rover has a $2 billion joint-venture plant with Chery building the Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport, capable of building up to 130,000 vehicles a year since it opened in late 2014.
In Slovakia JLR is to open a $2 billion factory in Nitra able to build 150,000 aluminium-bodied cars a year from 2018, close to the launch date for the new Defender. Jaguar Land Rover is the largest automotive manufacturer in Britain, is also one of the UK’s largest exporters and generates more than 80 per cent of its revenue from exports.
The Rio de Janeiro factory includes a series of environmental features, such as rainwater collection and the planting of more than 1200 indigenous trees to help preserve and improve the natural habitat around the factory.
Jaguar Land Rover has had a presence in the Brazilian market for more than 25 years and has 35 dealerships in one of its top 15 global markets. In the first five months of 2016, it saw sales increase by 11 per cent in Brazil. Jaguar Land Rover last year produced more than 500,000 cars and commercial vehicles at its three manufacturing plants in Birmingham and Halewood in Liverpool.