Jaguar Land Rover moves Discovery production from Solihull to Slovakia

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The company said the switch, ending 30 years of Discovery production at the West Midlands factory, will take place in early 2019 and that agency workers are most at risk from the decision.

With the manufacturing facility set to start later this year and the company has already announced that it is set to move all production of its Discovery vehicle to Slovakia before building its new Range Rover at an English factory.

The company, owned by India's Tata Motors, builds almost one in three of Britain's 1.7 millions cars but is producing its first electric vehicle, the I-Pace, in Austria.

Discovery production at Solihull is to end after 30 years moving to Nitra in Slovakia
Discovery production at Solihull is to end after 30 years moving to Nitra in Slovakia

Jaguar Land Rover first announced its intention to begin production of the Discovery in Slovakia in 2016, but did not mention at the time that the process could involve the migration of the model's entire UK-based production line.

"The new, award winning Range Rover Velar was an important contributor".

JLR said there would be a "significant investment and technology upgrade", with the carmaker believed to be spending hundreds of millions of pounds to meet its low-carbon commitments.

"The potential losses of some agency employed staff in the United Kingdom is a tough one but forms part of our long-term manufacturing strategy as we transform our business globally", the company said in a statement. This will be due to the crossover delay in Slovakian production beginning next year, and the redevelopment of the Solihull plant which is already underway. The biggest plant in the company, it now employs 9,000 people.

The company is grappling with slumping demand for diesel vehicles in the U.K. Sales in the country fell 12.8 percent in the year to March amid consumer uncertainty about Brexit and nervousness about buying diesel cars, though sales grew in China and the U.S.

The manufacturer said the new Range Rover Velar, the Jaguar E-PACE and the Land Rover Discovery helped it sell 48,281 vehicles during the month, a 6.1 per cent rise on the same period in 2017.

Most Range Rover Evoques and the related Discovery Sport are built at Land Rover's Halewood plant in the United Kingdom, however.

David Bailey, the professor of industrial strategy at Aston University, said it has raised hopes that the JLR's first electric auto - the I-Pace - will be built in Britain.