Jaguar-Land Rover’s $36m centre
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If money is no object, then you don’t just want any old showroom car. And for wealthy buyers looking for their own James Bond-style Q-Branch experience, Jaguar Land Rover has a treat in store.
The British carmaker has opened its new $36 million ‘special ops’ headquarters — and announced it is to create 250 new jobs and invest another £7.5 million ($13.6 million) into building exclusive revitalised classics.
The new Special Vehicle Operations technical centre on the outskirts of Coventry will create bespoke Jaguars, Range Rovers, and Land Rovers for wealthy customers who want personalised cars unique to them.
Operating like a real-life “Q-Branch” from the James Bond movies, the comparison is fitting as it was JLR’s special ops department that created the stunning Jaguar C-X75 supercar used in a high-speed chase in the most recent 007 film Spectre.
Taking the grand total of investment to almost £30 million, Britain’s biggest car-maker JLR is also spending a further £7.5 million to set up a new headquarters for its Jaguar Land Rover Classic division by 2017.
This not only restores existing vintage cars but brings back to life legendary cars that it is re-manufacturing in the 21st century, such as the rare Jaguar XKSS sports car and the iconic Lightweight E-Type racing model.
The firm now plans to launch one new SVO car every year, on average “for at least the next four years”.
Since June 2014 it has launched Jaguar F-TYPE Project 7, the new, 200mph F-TYPE SVR, the Range Rover Sport SVR and luxurious Range Rover SVAutobiography.
The new Oxford Road Technical Centre on the outskirts of Coventry will build, personalise and commission car programmes for Jaguar Land Rover‘s Special Vehicle Operations division includes new manufacturing and paint facilities, a technical suite where experts will guide customers through the design and creation of their new vehicles, plus new VIP Commissioning and Viewing Suites where clients are wined and dined while choosing their bespoke cars.
And should they decide they need a bite to eat, customers visiting the technical centre “by invitation” will also be offered fine-dining from Michelin-starred chef Graham Edwards, who learned his trade in London’s West End c.
A spokesman said: “He is on hand to create a selection of dishes designed to suit the client or the car they are buying.”
A colour-matching specialist is also ready to accurately match shades with any item of the customer’s choosing — whether a piece of fabric from a favourite suit or dress, or a favourite shade of lipstick or nail-polish.
The centre is inspired by the exacting standards of F1 and motorsport.
The personalised cars will be built, painted and hand-finished in the building, whose workshop features highly advanced workstations where the specialised vehicles are built by hand.
The Special Operations division was created in June 2014 to create “halo cars”, manage vehicle personalisation, establish classic car programmes, and create new ranges of branded goods.
In the financial year 2015/16, the SVO arm built more than 3600 low-volume but high-value bespoke vehicles — and that is set to increase considerably.
Greg Clark, director of vehicle personalisation said: “We will encourage customers to participate in the design of their own vehicles, to give a real sense of emotional connection to something that they have created; something unique.
“Our aim is to progressively grow our portfolio to cater to, and exceed, the desires of our most discerning customers.”
Cars are checked meticulously for imperfections, foreign fibres or dirt using specialist lighting.
Even before the base-coat is applied manually, technicians pass through an “air shower” to remove loose fibres from their own protective clothing.
Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover Classic, which is responsible for continuation editions of the Jaguar Lightweight E-type and forthcoming XKSS, and the Land Rover “Reborn” restoration programme, will have its special base at a new site nearby following an “initial” £7.5 million of investment.
Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said the new site would house car sales, restorations, servicing and parts operation.
“In this fantastic new facility we will offer the opportunity for owners and prospective customers to meet us, review and select the cars or services that meet their personal requirements,” he said.