Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Britain’s biggest carmaker, said on Thursday it is to build its new E-PACE compact sports utility vehicle in Austria and China, the first of its cars only to be manufactured outside of its home market.
JLR said its three British plants were either full or at near capacity but the decision will spark fears the firm is looking to boost its output by using overseas operations, rather than invest in greater capacity at home.
The British company, owned by India’s Tata Motors, is rapidly expanding its production levels and model line-up and decided in 2015 to build a major new plant in Slovakia, rather than expand its operations in Britain.
Like much of the British car industry, JLR is also worried that Brexit could leave its car exports facing lengthy customs delays and tariffs of up to 10 percent, risking the viability of production in Britain.
A statement from the firm was released which in part said:
With plans already in place to take Jaguar Land Rover’s three vehicle manufacturing plants in the UK close to their operating capacity, the creation of overseas manufacturing facilities delivers additional volumes needed to support the company’s future strategy.
It allows Jaguar Land Rover to offer its customers even more exciting new vehicles, to protect against currency fluctuations and to build a globally competitive business.
Magna will also produce the firm’s previously announced first electric model, the I-PACE, from 2018, although JLR has said it wants to build low-emissions vehicles in Britain if certain conditions are met.
Note: This article originally in part or total via Reuters.