Skip to main content

Major motoring developments crown Coventry’s 120 year Motor City legacy

Lord BTwo major investments in the automotive industry in Coventry will create world class facilities for the automotive industry in a resurgent “Motor City” Coventry, and both will be built in the year that will mark 120 years of motor manufacturing history in the City. The first British motor car was made in Coventry in 1897 by The Daimler Motor Company Limited but the company that is playing a central role in Coventry’s resurgence as a “Smart Motor City” is Jaguar Land Rover who is key to two major motor developments in the city both of which will be complete, or well underway, by 2017.

Coventry is undergoing a resurgence placing it at the heart of the rebirth of Britain’s car manufacturing industry, emulating the successes of the past. The City will be key to the future of the country’s economic success.

The City, once again, is becoming known as the UK’s Smart Motor City – thanks to Jaguar Land Rover and its incredible growth since Tata bought the company in 2008.

Since the purchase of Jaguar Land Rover by Mr Ratan Tata and his leadership, guidance and vision, followed by the support of Mr Cyrus Mistry over the last three years, Jaguar Land Rover has more than doubled its sales and employment and tripled its turnover.

In 2010 the company employed more than 16,300 people, by 2016 the figure has grown to close to 40,000 people globally – directly more than 36,000 in this country – indirectly approximately 240,000. What’s exciting about the Jaguar Land Rover success story is that it’s as much about the future – and what that will mean to the Midlands and Coventry in particular – as it is about the company’s past proud history and its current worldwide reputation.

The new development at Jaguar Land Rover’s HQ in Whitley is down to the imagination of Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of JLR, who has a vision to develop Coventry, and its neighbours, into a SMART CITY. The investment (which is subject to planning permission) in the development of the Whitley site shows how the government, the council, sub regions and companies can successfully work together.

In January, Jaguar Land Rover announced the plans to increase its footprint at its global HQ in Whitley. Coventry will be both the heart and brains of one of the world’s greatest companies. Jaguar Land Rover’s investment in the expansion plans is likely to top half a billion pounds and have the potential to introduce more than £200million a year into the local economy through additional employment and spending.

Around 5,600 people are currently employed at the site – the latest plans could boost this figure by up to 2,000 more jobs. 500 construction jobs alone will be needed over the next five years to support the ambitious expansion with a direct investment in infrastructure and construction of over £150 million.

The state-of-the-art developments in buildings, investment in the latest innovative technology, coupled with the improved transport connections, including high-speed rail – harmonise with the latest technology advancements that are being developed at the National Automotive Innovation Centre, at the University of Warwick. This infrastructure and focus on advanced manufacturing puts Coventry, and the sub regions, at the forefront to support the future needs of car production.

The discussions, over the last 18 months, which have been led by Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG, between Jaguar Land Rover, Coventry City Council, Warwick District Council have been significant in making this happen. The imagination and ‘can do’ attitude of the council and its political leadership has played a massive part in Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to continue to invest in Coventry, alongside the skills and expertise of WMG and the city’s manufacturing heritage.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya said “Councillor Ann Lucas is a wonderful asset to Coventry, and without her much of the major developments taking place, in the City, would not be happening. Her vision for Coventry goes beyond the here and now. She can see a city that once again is a beacon for car manufacturing, and which has the infrastructure to support companies who want to advance and develop.”

Under the leadership of Dr Ralf Speth it is the skills, expertise and passion of Coventry designers, engineers and technicians that’s cemented Jaguar Land Rover’s renaissance.

Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, comments “Working in partnership with government, council, WMG and the University of Warwick, we have developed a future-oriented vision of modern mobility for Coventry. Their passionate commitment and belief in a common vision for Coventry has underpinned the creation of our strategy to invest further in the local region".

It’s not only engineers, designers and construction workers who benefit from Jaguar Land Rover’s investment plans. Growth at Whitley will see tier one suppliers – the manufacturers who provide Jaguar Land Rover with vital components – move to the site, bringing more jobs and opportunities for local people.

The company is the largest UK investor in research and development in the manufacturing sector and is in the global top 100 for research and development (R&D) spend; investing more than £3billion last year in product development to help it continue its success in creating some of the best cars in the world.

In 2017, Jaguar Land Rover will move parts of its early stage R&D to the National Automotive Innovation Centre, which is a £150 million investment and a long-term commitment between Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, WMG and the University of Warwick – it is the biggest private investment on a university campus. The Centre will be a unique resource, with an environment to foster collaboration, cohesion and cross-fertilisation of knowledge. Academic and industrial R&D teams including many suppliers will work together using state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to develop breakthrough designs, technologies and processes.

The young people of the region will have a vital role to play in Jaguar Land Rover’s future. Last year 600 graduates and apprentices joined the company, and Jaguar Land Rover’s strong links with local schools has seen it host visits for 20,000 young people a year on work-related education programmes. In 2015, it developed the Jaguar Land Rover Academy for lifelong learning, which gives all staff the opportunity to develop their skills in any area of the business. It is also a key supporter of both the WMG Academy for Young Engineers, in Coventry and Solihull, which is a university technical college providing opportunities for 14 – 18 year olds to develop engineering skills.

Kate Tague, Executive Principal of the WMG academies, said:

“Jaguar Land Rover has been hugely supportive in every aspect of the WMG Academy from curriculum and equipment to the building itself, even to the extent of supplying a Jaguar F TYPE as an inspirational focal point for projects. Jaguar Land Rover clearly value the region’s engineering skills and their work with our school shows their commitment in sustaining and growing that skills base “

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya comments “I believe that we are on the way to Coventry becoming a SMART MOTOR CITY. With the developments at Jaguar Land Rover, Coventry is again leading the way in engineering and advanced manufacturing – just as it has done before.”

Notes for Editors:

• Professor Lord Bhattacharyya is Chairman of WMG, at the University of Warwick. He was the first Professor of Manufacturing in the country and is a passionate advocate for manufacturing industry. He has advised the UK government on manufacturing, innovation and technology, including former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. He is an adviser to Tata as well as advising many companies and organisations around the world.

Further Information:

Lisa Barwick, Head of Marketing and Communications, WMG, University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845 L.Barwick@warwick.ac.uk

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy, University of Warwick Tel UK: 024 76523708 office 07767 655860 mobile Tel Overseas: +44 (0)24 76523708 office +44 (0)7767 655860 mobile/cell Email: p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk

Further Information:

Lisa Barwick, Head of Marketing and Communications, WMG, University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845 L.Barwick@warwick.ac.uk

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy, University of Warwick Tel UK: 024 76523708 office 07767 655860 mobile Tel Overseas: +44 (0)24 76523708 office +44 (0)7767 655860 mobile/cell Email: p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk