Monday, August 1, 2011

Jaguar-Land Rover Opens Assembly Plant in India, Rolls Out its First Model

Gone are the times when you knew where cars were made just by looking at the brand, and when luxury carmakers made the manufacturing of their vehicles in their home country one of their top selling points. Nowadays, you have BMWs built in China, India, South Africa and the USA, Mercedes-Benz cars made in Russia, Thailand and Egypt and so on.

The latest premium automaker to go global is the Jaguar-Land Rover group, which inaugurated its first Indian factory on Friday. A Land Rover Freelander 2 SUV was the first vehicle to roll out of the assembly plant, which is located just outside Pune in the Maharashtra region of India. We’ll remind you that Ford Motor Co. sold Jaguar and Land Rover to India’s Tata Motors in 2008 after losing some US$15 billion in two years.

Tata Motors believes that the assembly of Land Rover models in India will help the company better compete against rivals such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, all of which already build vehicles in the booming South Asian country.

“We are excited about the prospect of assembling cars in Pune for the Indian market where we have achieved significant growth since we opened our first showroom in 2009,” said Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover. “It is a great time to be expanding our operation in India due to the increasing demand for luxury products and the strength of the Indian economy."

The Pune facility will assemble Land Rover Freelander 2 vehicles supplied in Complete Knock Down (CKD) form sourced from the British firm’s Halewood manufacturing plant in Liverpool, UK. The SUV will be available in India in two variants, the TD4 SE Automatic and the SD4 HSE Automatic, with local prices starting from INR 3.39 million, or around 15 percent lower than the current imported models.

Recent media reports have suggested that Jaguar Land Rover is also looking into building a new engine plant in India, but the company has not yet confirmed the news.