The Land Rover Discovery is British no more as Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) confirms a long-term business strategy to re-locate some UK production to overseas territories. The decision to move all future production of the Land Rover Discovery from Solihull to a new production facility in Slovakia has been long in planning, those plans will be finalised by next year.
JLR has confirmed that a new generation of Range Rover models will be built at Solihull including electric, hybrid, petrol and diesel variants.
Originally, the company claimed that both Solihull and the Slovakia facility would have joint ownership of Discovery SUV production, but JLR never detailed how the split-production process would work.
We now have the answer. Workers, who wish not to be identified, from within JLR, have been contacting us for many months privately criticising senior management.
The workforce has been in the dark over future decisions, but an internal leak about the exact details spread throughout the factory floor. Many refuse to speak publically for fear of losing their jobs.
And job losses are on the horizon, out of the 10,000 strong workforce around 1,800 are comprised of agency workers and the latter group will be first in the firing line.
One worker who emailed us on condition of anonymity said: “we’ve known for a long time that all Discovery production is headed to Slovakia, they (management) have deliberately deceived us and there is great anger on the factory floor. The confirmation is devasting, families will be affected by this news, economically the area will feel a domino effect for sure. Its a worrying time for people who have worked hard.”
Tata Motors, who own Jaguar Land Rover say they are “committed” to the UK and plan a new generation of electric car production.
But if Land Rover lied about their future plans concerning the production of the Discovery SUV are they also lying about the future production of electric SUVs at Solihull?
Based on today’s announcement the answer is almost certainly yes, JLR will lie in the future as they have lied in the present, today.
However, automotive economies of scale force the onset of global production and JLR, by setting up a European production base, is following business practices that work for other car companies.
JLR already manufactures the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque, and XF L and XE L in China with the ambition to further expand production with a new range of electric cars.
China accounts for 30 percent of JLRs global sales which is now seen as a key market. However, the UK JLR workforce has other issues to contend with, Brexit.
The irony is that Solihull voted to leave Europe in the 2016 EU membership referendum.