Jaguar Land Rover has announced the next stage of its global expansion plans.
This week JLR has signed a letter of intent with the Slovak Republic, with a view to developing a new manufacturing plant in the city of Nitra in western Slovakia.
While still to be confirmed, the first model likely to roll down the line will be the next-generation Defender, which is currently under development.
From there the factory could see a number of ‘aluminium-intensive’ Land Rover vehicles joining the production schedule. A replacement for the current Discovery 4, which is likely to share its underpinnings with the new Defender could also come from Slovakia.
The new factory forms part of an ambitious global growth plan. With JLR moving towards producing one million vehicles a year, the Slovakian plant is expected to provide capacity for up to 300,000 cars annually.
"The expansion of our business globally is essential to support its long-term, resilient growth.” Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, said.
"With its established premium automotive industry, Slovakia is an attractive potential development opportunity for us.”
The Slovakian site was selected for its proximity to component suppliers and logistics infrastructure.
No doubt the area's lower labour costs helped play a part in the decision too; a 'hedge', perhaps, by Jaguar against global headwinds and currency fluctuations.
The Nitra facility will join Jaguar and Land Rover plants in the UK, China and India, as well as a facility currently under construction in Brazil. Other sites in the US, Mexico and in Europe were also considered.
The Volkswagen Group, Kia and Peugeot-Citroen all have production facilities in Slovakia already.
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