Friday, 10 March 2017
JLR to boost its design, engineering resources
Fuelled by success at home and overseas, Jaguar Land Rover Automotive (JLRA) is boosting in engineering resources at Gaydon, the former home of sibling BL Technology Ltd in the days of British Leyland.
JLR the UK’s largest car manufacturer, has begun construction work on a £200 million redevelopment of its design and engineering centre at Gaydon, Warwickshire.
As the emphasis moves increasingly to hybrid and electric vehicles, this latest expansion represents the first major construction project at one of the company’s non-manufacturing sites in over a decade.
The development is intended to become one of the world’s foremost automotive product, engineering and design sites – fitting for a company with ambitious plans for continued global growth.
Chris Elliott, JLR’s property programmes director, said: “The new design and engineering centre is a testament both to Jaguar Land Rover's British heritage of innovation and its compelling vision for future vehicle technology. The new space will centralise our design, product engineering and purchasing functions in an original and modern environment, as well as creating additional capacity for the future.”
JLR has worked with leading architectural practice Bennetts Associates to design the scheme and engaged Laing O’Rourke as its construction partner. Laing O’Rourke will develop the site to create a unique landscaped campus comprising new offices and Jaguar and Land Rover design centres.
In recent years JLR has invested heavily in its UK vehicle manufacturing facilities at Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull to support the introduction of all-new vehicles such as the Jaguar XE, XF and F-PACE, Range Rover Evoque Convertible and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
It has also made significant progress in building its international manufacturing presence over the last year, with a new manufacturing facility under construction in Slovakia and the opening of its plant in Brazil.
Over the past five years JLR has employed more than 20,000 people, taking its workforce to more than 40,000. The company has invested more than £11 billion in new product creation and capital expenditure.
COMMENT. Gaydon has come a long way since during WW2 it was opened (in 1942) as an RAF station, being the first station to receive the Vickers Valiant in 1955. But the ghosts of past automotive technology hover timelessly and tantalisingly in unseen corners, ghosts associated with, for example, the ECV3, a bonded-aluminium-structure aerodynamic concept car developed by Spen King (father of the Range Rover et al) working at BLT in Gaydon and first shown to the public 35 years ago in December 1982 The third in a series of Energy Conservation Vehicles BLT was developing at the time, ECV3 (housed in the nearby museum) ncorporated new engine technologies and construction materials. The three-cylinder, four-valves-per-cylinder engine developed 72bhp (54kW) and was mated to a five-speed gearbox. The engine weighed 84kg and led to the K-Series. BLT also developed infinitely variable (or continuously variable) transmissions based on the Perbury transmission. Other ghosts include British Leyland’s first dabble with robotics under Mike Kelly.