Jaguar Land Rover has secured a £500 million UK Government loan guarantee to support the design and manufacture of electric cars at Castle Bromwich.
It’s no secret that Jaguar Land Rover has been struggling somewhat of late, with big drops in sales in China, buyers eschewing diesel-engined cars – the vast majority of JLR’s sales – and concerns over Brexit adding to the mix.
That perfect storm of problems for JLR has already seen a big dose of cost-cutting and job losses, but JLR is aiming to rebuild and the key, it seems, is to throw themselves headlong into electric cars.
Ten days ago they announced plans to build electric cars at Castle Bromwich, and that a new electric Jaguar XJ would be the first proper BEV to come out of the plant.
Clearly, JLR had no choice other than to drive in a new direction after diesel-bashing pulled the rug from under its sales, and building EVs in the UK – where the bulk of its talent lies – is pragmatic.
But gearing up to deliver new EVs – even if spreading the cost by working with BMW is going to help – isn’t a cheap exercise, but JLR is getting a bit of a helping hand from HM’s Government to make it possible.
The UK Export Finance agency has agreed to support JLR’s EV endeavours with a £500 million loan guarantee to support the design, manufacture and export of electric cars.
All of which comes almost exactly a decade after the then Labour government demanded a seat on the board of JLR, and a veto over future plans, to stump up a loan guarantee for the troubled firm. In the end, JLR had to turn to private finance to move forward.
Let’s hope this loan guarantee is more pragmatic.
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