The country is still in recession, but Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) seems to be single-handedly trying to grow the UK economy.
Today it has announced another 1,100 jobs at the Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham. This is in addition to the 8,000 jobs created in the last two years.
The significance of today's announcement is that these jobs are at Jaguar, not Land Rover, where all the growth has been up to now. Jaguar is gearing up to make both the new XF Sportbrake (estate) and F-Type sports car. The F-Type is going to be one of the most important models in Jaguar's history. Not because of the sales volumes, which will be relatively small, but because it is meant to transform the image of the company. Jaguar is aware that it has a bit of an "old man's car" image and the F-Type is intended to make the brand as cool as Audi, Porsche or, in fact, Land Rover.
It is certainly an amazing turnaround. In 2009, JLR announced it would close either Solihull or Castle Bromwich, a decision reversed because of recovering demand in 2010. At the time JLR said it would be able to keep the factories open until 2020. Now it looks more like a question of how many more factories JLR will have by then (at least one in China is currently planned).