Coventry & Warwickshire

Jaguar Land Rover 'to double' Coventry base

Whitley Research and Development Centre Image copyright JLR
Image caption Some 4,000 staff are already based at JLR's site in Whitley

Car giant Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced plans to double the size of its operations at its headquarters in Coventry.

The firm said land bought in Whitley meant it could expand its base from 55 to almost 120 acres.

The site expected to be used for research and advanced engineering, although it is not yet clear how many jobs could be created.

About 4,000 people already work at the Whitley base.

Dr Ralph Speth, chief executive of JLR, said the multi million-pound expansion of the Advanced Engineering and Design Centre, would support development of "ultra-low emission" vehicles.

Coventry City Council has described the news as a "major economic investment" in the city.

Analysis

Peter Plisner - BBC Midlands Today business correspondent

Yet more expansion at JLR has to be good news for the region and in particular, Coventry.

It's now a global brand and as such could base itself anywhere in the world.

But it's choosing to stay where its roots are and nurture the talent that's here.

Although the company won't say what impact there'll be on jobs, expansion will clearly mean more jobs.

Research and development is the heart of any company and the more products you launch, the more people you need to do it.

"Jaguar's heart has always been in Coventry and now its brain is going to be as well," council leader Ann Lucas said.

She said for every high-end engineering job created at the site, it could support up to seven in the supply chain.

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire's political reporter, Sian Grzeszczyk, said the council had believed for some time this could be a "game-changing moment" for the city and had invested heavily in infrastructure to seal the deal.

Prof David Bailey, from Aston Business School, said the latest investment was essentially about developing "much greener cars".

"JLR have a big challenge, like other premium producers, there's a lot of regulations rightly coming out of Europe. They've got a big race on to get their greenhouse emissions down," he said.

"In five years time I expect it to be making one million cars. To do that it has to develop new products."

In August, the manufacturer announced plans to open a £20m technical centre near the city and opened its first factory in China two months later.

Earlier this year, the firm said it would create 1,300 jobs to build its first sports utility vehicle at its Solihull plant.

In all, the firm said it had created 18,000 new jobs in the last five years, doubling its workforce.

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