NEWDELHI (Reuters) – British carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will move the assembly of its Land Rover Defender to its plant in Slovakia to make room for newer models at its factory in Britain, the company said on Tuesday.
The Defender 4X4, which is designed and engineered in Britain, will be unveiled later this year, JLR, owned by India’s Tata Motors, said.
“This decision is in parallel with plans for significant investment at the company’s Solihull plant in the UK to support the production of the next generation of flagship Range Rover and Land Rover models,” JLR said.
This is the second model to be built at the Slovakia plant, which was officially launched in October, where JLR expects to hit annual production of 100,000 cars by 2020.
The plant was built with an initial capacity of 150,000 vehicles and started by taking over production of the carmaker’s Discovery model.
The British government has been wary of carmakers moving production outside the country after the industry warned that it would face possible risks if Britain’s impending exit from the European Union is disorderly.
The risks, including delays to the supply of parts and finished models, new customs bureaucracy, the need to re-certify cars and an up to 10 percent tariff on finished vehicles, have forced carmakers to draw up contingency plans and even briefly shut production at their plants.
Together JLR, Mini, Rolls-Royce and Peugeot’s Vauxhall, branded as Opel in the rest of Europe, built over 750,000 of Britain’s 1.52 million cars last year.
(Reporting by Kate Holton in London and Aditi Shah in New Delhi, editing by Louise Heavens)