Shropshire Star

JLR spends £356 million to turn Wolverhampton i54 factory electric

Jaguar Land Rover has invested more than £350 million in turning its giant i54 factory electric.

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The company says it has also reported a record year thanks to increased worldwide sales.

Revenue for the luxury car maker was up 27 per cent to £29 billion for the year to the end of March.

The business makes engines for its cars at Wolverhampton.

The factory, which sits alongside the M54 motorway, employs more than 1,000 and currently produces diesel engines for its range of luxury models.

It will become a major assembly line for electric drive units and battery packs as part of its transition to electric-powered vehicles.

JLR says £356 million has been spent on the Electric Propulsion Manufacturing Centre, which is being created at the i54. That investment has been used to instal equipment to manufacture battery packs and electric drive units there.

Its new electric Range Rover model has generated strong interest, with about 28,700 signing up to the waiting list since it opened in December.

The new models are being made at the firm’s factory in Solihull in the West Midlands.

The manufacturer said that about 950 electrification jobs were created in the latest year.

Meanwhile, Tata, the parent company of JLR, confirmed in February it was building a £4 billion battery factory in Bridgewater in Somerset. Batteries made there will be brought up the M5 and M6 to be assembled in Wolverhampton.

JLR says its electrification programme has benefited all its sites, including 300 new robots and assembly lines at Halewood, Merseyside.

The final quarter of the year saw record revenue of £7.9bn – up 11 per cent on a year earlier.

Profit before tax and exceptional items was £661 million in the quarter – from £368m – and £2.2 billion for the full year – the highest since 2014-2015.

The order book was around 133,000 vehicles at the end of the financial year, 76 per cent of which were for Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Defender models.

The Range Rover Electric is generating strong interest with more than 28,700 sign ups to the waiting list since opening in December. The new battery conveyor system at Solihull for the model is nearing completion and the new additional body shop for Range Rover is now fully operational. It is currently undergoing cold weather testing in the Arctic Circle.

The new Defender Octa is to be revealed on July 3 with prospective clients invited to one of seven exclusive events to experience it.

Chief executive Adrian Mardell said the ‘Reimagine’ strategy to turn electric was entering an exciting period, adding: “This has been a year of great strategic progress at JLR and I would like to thank our clients, our people, our suppliers and partners for their role in our success.

“We have delivered a record financial performance for the company, generating free cashflow of £2.3 billion, enabling us to reduce net debt to £0.7 billion.

“The foundation of this performance was the sustained global demand for our modern luxury vehicles, led by our Range Rover and Defender brands, underpinned by a consistent focus on operational improvement.We are entering the next exciting phase of our Reimagine strategy which will see us bring to life our modern luxury electric vehicles and deliver an accompanying modern luxury experience for our clients, ensuring we continue to vigorously address the challenges we have encountered in 2024.”

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