LONDON -- Jaguar Land Rover, last week, opened a $800 million engine manufacturing center in western England, creating 1,400 jobs.
The business, owned by Indian giant Tata Motors (IW 1000/18), will now manufacture in-house engines for new Jaguar Land Rover products, starting with the 2.0-liter diesel in the Jaguar XE, ending its current reliance on sub-contractors.
The plant in Wolverhampton, costing the equivalent of £500 million, which was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II, has already taken on 1,400 people and will support more than 4,000 additional jobs at subcontractors, Jaguar Land Rover said.
"This state of the art facility supports the burgeoning UK manufacturing industry and will further support Jaguar Land Rover's contribution to a rebalanced economy," it added.
The opening will help boost the country's automotive industry, which is currently enjoying a renaissance.
About 2.5 million automobile engines were produced in the UK last year, 60% of them for export, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Ford is currently building a 600-million-euro factory for making low-emission engines in Dagenham, east London.
"The recent success is testament to the expertise of UK engineers, a flexible workforce and the competitive and supportive business environment," said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
"It will create more jobs, bolster the supply chain and help attract overseas suppliers back to UK shore," he added.
More than 1.5 million cars were made in Britain last year, the highest since 2007.
The great British brands (Mini, Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley, Rolls-Royce) are now under foreign ownership but have invested heavily. Japanese manufacturers Nissan, Toyota and Honda also all have a significant presence in the country.
According to the SMMT, Britain could overtake Spain and France to become Europe's second-biggest manufacturer, behind Germany, by 2017, but experts consider that target optimistic.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014