Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover has been planning big for some time now. From being a near-boutique player in its days under Ford, JLR has charted a clear global strategy to expand operations, volume sales and its footprint worldwide.
And the plan has been backed by its parent Tata Motors. The company has signed a letter of intent with the government of Slovakia to put up a new plant in the city of Nitra. Sources close to the potential deal say that incentives doled out by Slovakia include cheaper power, skilled labour - also at costs lower than Western Europe or the UK, and a vendor park in the vicinity. Sources also say JLR would target a plant with an initial output of 100,000 units.
JLR has 3 production plants in the UK, builds cars in China and also has assembling operations in India, with a plant under construction in Brazil too. A plant in Slovakia would help JLR access bigger volumes quicker, with a view to reach more markets and more consumers at a faster pace than it could in the past.
The target for production in 2015 is 500,000 units. JLR would like to see that number double in the next 5 years. It has already expanded production, technical prowess and its workforce in the UK - where it has invested £11 bn over the past 5 years.
The company also has aggressive plans to enter new segments with plans for new SUVs, crossovers and compact products - an area of particular interest as it has no products to compete with the Germans there. BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have seen volumes spike with the likes of the A/B/CLA/GLA Class, X1/1Series, and A3/Q3 being well received worldwide.