Tata Motors is living up to its reputation as one of Britain’s biggest manufacturing employers and is set to add hundreds of new jobs at one of its UK plants.
Just days after the news came that Japanese car major Honda was to cut 800 jobs at its Swindon factory, Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will announce just as many new jobs at its Solihull plant in the Midlands. JLR already employs as many as 24,000 people in the UK.
According to the Sunday Times, an announcement of the latest recruitment drive is expected in time for the Detroit Motor Show which begins on Monday.
The investment, which defies a general slowdown in the auto industry, is largely down to a surge in demand for JLR brands in China, Russia and the US.
The iconic British car giant, taken over by Tata in 2008, registered record profits of 1.5 billion pounds last year due to this overseas boost.
It marks a significant reversal of fortunes for JLR under the stewardship of Tata Motors, which had announced 1,000 new jobs at its Halewood plant on Merseyside last year and now employs nearly 24,000 staff in the UK.
Following a period of uncertainty as the credit crunch hit soon after Tata’s takeover from Ford, the sales of most JLR brands rebounded considerably to result in an ambitious expansion plan two years ago.
The company wants to launch 40 new models in the next five years and has a target of making 60,000 cars a year. A sporty new Range Rover is expected to be launched in April this year.
Tata, under former chairman Ratan Tata, had also earmarked 350 million pounds on constructing an engine plant in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.
More than 80 per cent of the vehicles made at JLR’s three British factories — the third at Castle Bromwich, also in the Midlands — are shipped abroad.
Last year the company clinched a joint venture deal with Chinese car maker Chery to make JLR models in China.
The company had recently revealed plans to launch a scheme, alongside Warwick University, to train an additional 150 staff each year to degree level across a range of disciplines to address skill shortages.
Besides growing its UK plants, it has plans to expand in China and India in order to double global production by the end of the decade.
JLR’s robust 2012 sales also contributed to the highest levels of new car registrations in the UK since 2008, making the UK the second-largest car market in Europe.