Some automakers are abandoning their British operations, but Jaguar Land Rover is redoubling its commitment to its motherland.
The Indian-owned company has cut the ribbon at an expansion of its facilities at Gaydon, which cost £500 million (A$912 million).
The new facilities have been christened the Advanced Product Creation Centre, and bring Jaguar and Land Rover design, engineering and purchasing under the same roof for the first time. This makes Gaydon the UK’s largest automotive development centre.
Gaydon is already home to almost 13,000 engineers and designers, working on a wide variety of vehicles and technologies including autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles.
There’s plenty of work done here on traditional, ICE-powered vehicles, too, such as the recently-revealed Land Rover Defender.
The sprawling site measures 4,000,000m² and the new expansion adds more than 50,000m² of additional workspaces, including a new Jaguar design studio.
As one should expect in 2019, the facility uses renewable energy. Up to 20 per cent of its energy comes from almost 3,000m² of roof-mounted, photovoltaic solar panels,and Jaguar Land Rover claims the rest comes entirely from other renewable sources.
The new facility is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero mission, short for Zero Emissions, Zero Accidents and Zero Congestion. On this vision, Jaguar Land Rover chief Ralf Speth said, “Our vision is for a world in which zero emission vehicles, public transport and self-driving pods will form one smart integrated and networked transport system.”
As long ago as the 1970s, Gaydon has been a centre for vehicle development. First, British Leyland – then owners of Jaguar – had operations there. Jaguar returned to Gaydon under Ford ownership in 2000.
Jaguar Land Rover is also investing in re-tooling its Castle Bromwich factory, where the next-generation XJ – among other electric vehicles – will be produced.