Midlands is motoring after £650m cash boost


Jaguar Land Rover has announced plans to invest £400m in a new engine plant near Birmingham, as well as new equipment and the expansion of its design centre. The Indian-owned carmaker intends to produce the new Jaguar XF executive saloon at its Castle Bromwich factory in Coventry, where the company has purchased 62 acres of land to expand the research and development centre and increase its focus on low-emission vehicles. JLR chief executive Ralf Speth said that the Whitley expansion was 'just the start' as the company needed more capacity in the UK as it attempts to maintain sales against stiff competition from German rivals, while reinvesting in new models and continuing to reward its Indian owners. The investment from JLR comes at the same time as China's Zhejiang Geely Group revealed it is to spend £250m on a new factory for the London Taxi Company, maker of the iconic black cab. The site, also near Coventry, will create up to 1,000 jobs and produce around 30,000 vehicles a year, with the first batch rolling off the production line in late 2017. Li Shufu, chairman of Geely, said his company's decision reflects 'the importance of Britain as an inward investment destination for Chinese companies.' Britain's attractions as a centre for automotive production, flexible supply base, skilled workers and access to the European single market have already made the country a hub for vehicle production.'


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