Coventry-based Jaguar Land Rover
(JLR) recently confirmed that its ‘state of the art’ Slovakian plant in Nitra will produce electric vehicles (EVs) as part of the company’s Reimagine Strategy that will see nine new EVs launched by 2030. Announcing the news on the Slovakian plant’s fifth anniversary last month, Barbara Bergmeier, executive director of industrial operations, championed the success of the plant and its people, which have produced over 365,000 Defender and Discovery vehicles to date, since production commenced there in October 2018.
She said: “I am thrilled to announce that our fantastic Nitra plant will be producing EVs this decade as part of our electrification strategy. This is a vote of confidence in the site’s 5,000 skilled and dedicated people and demonstrates the key role Nitra plays in our current successful performance. I also want to thank our suppliers, who have followed us to Nitra and supported our increases in production.”
JLR Nitra’s operations director Guillermo Mancholas said: “This is a real milestone for our plant, which has gone from strength-to-strength since the production lines started work five years ago. We have made changes during that time, such as adding the Defender 130 and moving from two to three shifts to increase production from 2,000 to 3,000 cars a week. The news that we will be delivering EV production is confirmation of our key role in the Reimagine Strategy.Highly digitalised
JLR invested 1.3 billion euros to launch Nitra, a highly digitalised and automated plant that was the first in Europe to use Kuka’s Pulse carrier system – 30% faster transfer times than conventional systems. Since then, the luxury car maker has invested a further 60 million euros in new technology, land, buildings and software. Built exclusively at Nitra, the new Defender has been a particular financial success story for the company. As JLR’s best-selling model for the last two financial years, the Defender is generating 10-times the revenue that the Classic Defender did in 2015.
Looking forward, JLR is investing £15 billion over five years to transform its vehicles to electric and become ‘net zero’ by 2039. This includes electrifying its luxury Range Rover, Defender, Jaguar and Discovery brands, and launching nine pure electric models by 2030. JLR is rapidly transforming its industrial footprint to prepare for electrification, of which the Nitra plant represents the last piece in that jigsaw.
Halewood will become JLR’s first all-electric production facility, Solihull will produce electric Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Jaguar models, the Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton will build Electric Drive Units (EDUs) and Castle Bromwich will be repurposed to build body panels for EVs. Meanwhile JLR opened a new £250 million Future Energy Lab in Whitley, Coventry, at the end of October (read the report in Machinery Market here
) to develop electric drive units for the company in-house.