The facility, to be named the National Automotive Innovation Campus (NAIC), is being constructed so Jaguar Land Rover's product development base remains in the UK, despite the group now being Indian owned. The group says the new facility will "put the UK at the very centre of the global automotive industry".
The NAIC, set to open in 2016, will also see JLR’s research and development teams grow in size. Approximately 1000 academics, researchers, technologists and engineers will work in close proximity at the facility.
“These collaborative research programs will harness the best of UK engineering innovation…you can expect the number and range of new, fresh innovative ideas that we patent, and then take into production, will increase significantly,” said JLR director of research and technology Dr Wolfgang Epple.
Initial research and development projects will focus on electrification, in-car infotainment systems, and what JLR calls its ‘Human Machine Interface’.
JLR is a relatively small automotive group compared with the mostly German and Japanese manufacturers it competes against. According to Epple, “investing in collaboration, innovation, research and education is vital if we want to be on par with our international competitors”.
“Our future sales success, the success of our global business – and the UK economy – lies in the engineering and innovation that will take place at the NAIC.”
The facility will also serve to educate school children and university-level engineering students, in order to preserve UK engineering involvement in car development.
JLR owner Tata Motors and the UK government will make financial contributions towards the facility’s development costs, however more than half will be covered by JLR itself.