Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and China's Chery Automobile on Sunday said they laid the foundation stone for a joint-venture plant in China to build JLR vehicles and new models in the world's biggest automotive market.

The companies, which recently got approval from Chinese authorities for the venture, now can speed up work on the factory in the eastern city of Changshu near Shanghai, JLR said in a statement.

"Together, we will now begin working in close collaboration ... to produce relevant, advanced models for Chinese consumers," it quoted JLR CEO Ralf Speth and Chery CEO Yin Tongyao as saying.

The companies' $1.7 billion investment also includes an engine manufacturing plant and a research and development center.

The 50/50 joint venture also will create a new brand to manufacture models "tailored specifically for the Chinese market," the companies said.

Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India's Tata Motors Ltd. (IW 1000/186), and Chery plan to complete the Changshu plant sometime in 2014. The name of the partnership -- Chery Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Co. -- was announced Sunday.

JLR's release had no details on planned capacity. China's Xinhua news agency said last month that the factory will produce 130,000 vehicles a year, mainly Land Rovers and Jaguars but also some co-branded cars.

Chery, founded in 1997, makes cars, utility vehicles and engines and exports to more than 60 countries.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012