By World Infrastructure Journal-
Jaguar Land Rover becomes the latest car manufacturer to announce sustainability plans, set to make both brands electric within the next decade.
Announced yesterday by Chief Executive Thierry Bolloré, these plans come as part of its ‘Reimagine Strategy’, set to radically change the operations of Jaguar and Land Rover.
Mr Bolloré stated that electrification will put them on different paths, creating two distinct brands with “clear, unique personalities”. This is part of a long-term vision to upgrade Jaguar from a premium model into a luxury international car brand, set to rival Rolls Royce and electric counterpart, Tesla.
By 2025, the whole Jaguar fleet is to be built exclusively on a pure, electric architecture, scrapping the entire current range except the 100 per cent electric SUV I-Pace. This new range is set to be much smaller than previous offerings, which they believe will allow for more focus on improving techniques and efficiency. According to Jaguar, the production of these new models, which will be moving to Solihull, will upgrade their offerings into the luxury category as well as put “profit over volume”.
Land Rover is similarly set to become more sustainable with new models built using electric variants and electrified internal combustion engines. Over the next five years, Land Rover will create six pure electric variants and the first all-electric Land Rover model will be available to buy by 2024.
For heavier 4X4 models, Jaguar Land Rover is developing hydrogen fuel-cell power technology which powers the vehicle without producing any tailpipe emissions. The brand outlined that development is already underway and are expecting the prototypes of this new technology to arrive on UK roads within the next 12 months.
Hydrogen technology development is part of the announced £2.5 billion annual funding by Jaguar Land Rover to create new technology for their electric vehicles. The company is also researching more sustainable operations and supply chains as part of their bid to become a carbon net-zero business by 2039. It is vital therefore that any hydrogen used is renewable and new electric parts are made from sustainable manufacturing methods.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the latest announcement by the company was “a huge step for British car manufacturing”. Yet the brand’s move was largely necessary due to the recent Government announcement that the UK will ban the sale of any petrol or diesel vehicles by 2030 in a bid to meet climate action goals. Many other brands are similarly going down this more sustainable road, with Bentley Motors revealing last November that all their vehicles will be fully electric vehicles.
Yet for Jaguar, the changes are not merely on the forecourt as the company announced that they are set to “dramatically reduce layers of management” and their “global manufacturing and assembly footprint [will be] retained, rightsized, repurposed and reorganised”.
They have already stated that all three UK British plants will stay open but the Castle Bromwich plant will eventually stop making cars and be used for non-production activities instead. It has yet to be made clear exactly what this means for those workers at the site, especially given production of the Land Rover Discovery and Defender models have already moved to Slovakia.
Unite, the Carworkers Union has stated that it will support the transition as long as there are no forced redundancies. Des Quinn, National Officer at Unite explained that while he welcomes these changes “This is not unconditional support. Assurances of no plant closures and no compulsory job losses have been sought and given and it is on this basis only that we will work with the company to meet the challenges of the future,”
There have also been some concerns over what these changes in methods will mean for UK car manufacturers' international competitiveness. Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders was wary that “global competition is fierce. Government must ensure advanced manufacturing has its full support with a policy framework and plan for growth that reduces costs, accelerates domestic battery production and electrified supply chains, and incentivises R&D. ”
To create and utilise these latest technologies, Jaguar Land Rover has said that collaboration and knowledge-sharing with other industry leaders is vital. Mr Bolloré explained that this should especially come from within the wider Tata Group, an Indian conglomerate that owns Jaguar whcih is investing heavily into research in a wide variety of sectors such as steel, which could improve car manufacturing technologies.
On the latest announcement, Mr N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover said “The Reimagine strategy takes Jaguar Land Rover on a significant path of acceleration in harmony with the vision and sustainability priorities of the wider Tata Group. Together, we will help Jaguar realise its potential, reinforce Land Rover’s timeless appeal and collectively become a symbol of truly responsible business for its customers, society and the planet. ”
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