In an effort to expedite its global expansion programme Jaguar Land Rover, owned by Mumbai-based Tata Motors, has signed a letter of intent to explore the possibility of setting up automotive facility in Saudi Arabia.
Azzam Yaser Shalabi, President of the National Industrial Clusters Development Programme ( NICDP) in Saudi Arabia and Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover’s chief executive officer formally signed a letter of intent today, paving the way for an automotive partnership in Saudi Arabia.
JLR's expansion initiatives included the recent signing of a joint venture agreement with China's Cherry Automobiles and the setting up of an assembly plant in Pune.
The Indian plant has already started assembling the Freelander 2.
Speth said, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an attractive potential development option, complementing our existing advanced facilities in Britain and recent manufacturing plans to expand in other countries including India and China.”
Discussions between Jaguar Land Rover and the Saudi Government are at a preliminary stage, although opportunities have already been identified in aluminium component production – an area where Jaguar Land Rover has established a leadership position, a note stated.
The world’s largest integrated aluminium complex, a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Mining Company and Alcoa of the US, is due to begin production in 2014 at the Ras Al Khair facility, which is expected to create opportunities for the automotive sector.
Jaguar Land Rover has rapidly advanced towards increased usage of aluminium in vehicle body development. The Jaguar XJ and the all-new Range Rover sport an all-aluminium body structure.
Such expansion follows a sharp rise in Jaguar Land Rover sales to emerging markets, contributing to a 32 per cent increase in global retail sales to 324,184 vehicles in the eleven months to November 30, 2012. In the current calendar year, sales in the Middle East and North Africa have increased by more than 9 per cent to 11,418 units.
Pending agreement on development options in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jaguar Land Rover would expect to announce further plans in 2013. Issues such as level of investment, potential capacity and job creation have not yet been discussed in detail between the parties.