In a move in stark contrast to its luxury roots but very good for the recovering British motor industry, Jaguar has announced its plans to invest $2.4 billion (1.53 billion pounds) in a new range of lightweight aluminium sports sedans and crossover SUVs aimed at the mass market, creating 1,700 jobs in the process.
The plan is part of a larger scheme to better compete with its larger German rivals and also to emulate the success of lower cost luxury vehicles made by its sister company Land Rover.
“The creation of 1,700 new jobs and £1.5bn investment by Jaguar Land Rover is a great vote of confidence in the UK economy,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter.
Jaguar, part of the Jaguar Land Rover group owned by India’s Tata Motors, said the investment could create a further 24,000 jobs in the supply chain. JLR has roared to health in the four years since Tata Motors bought the group from Ford for $2.3 billion. It has escaped the cycle of plant shutdowns and falling production at many European automakers by tapping into growing demand for luxury cars in emerging markets.
British car sales rose by 11% in August, the 18th consecutive month of growth, in contrast to Germany, France, Italy and Spain, which all suffered sales declines.