Uncertainty surrounds JLR’s Castle Bromwich plant as brand looks to simplify business

Ted Welford, PA Motoring Reporter

Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich plant faces an uncertain future as the brand looks to simplify and become more profitable.

Speaking this morning, former Renault boss and new JLR chief executive officer Thierry Bolloré announced the brand’s ‘Reimagine Strategy’, saying that “simplification is the central theme here”.

While Bolloré said that the brand would retain all its “core plants”, there was uncertainty about how the firm’s Castle Bromwich facility will be used in the future.

Bolloré said: “Simplification is the central theme here, and while we will retain all core plants across the globe, we will reorganise and simplify our resources.”

While the CEO said that the firm’s plants in Halewood, Merseyside, and Solihull, West Midlands, would adapt to accommodate the brand’s “future advanced EVs”, Castle Bromwich’s future seemed more uncertain.

The plant, which currently produces the XE and XF saloons, and F-Type sports car, is set to continue production with current models – all of which have been unconfirmed for a next-generation – until the nameplates reach the end of their lifecycle, likely until at least 2024.

An electric XJ was set to be produced there as early as this year, however, the firm looks to have scrapped the plans.

However, while the plant is not expected to close, Bolloré did not confirm what the factory would do in the future, but just that Jaguar would “explore plans to repurpose the plant”.

As part of the announcement, Jaguar Land Rover also said it wanted to move more teams to its Gaydon HQ, which Bolloré said would “bring all these ingredients together… to become the heart of our business”.

Elsewhere, Jaguar is set to become an electric-only brand by 2025, with the overall firm signalling its intentions to become a ‘battery-first’ business as it launches six new all-electric models across the two brands – the first arriving in 2024. JLR also said it would phase out diesel from 2026, and offer each one of its models with the option of an EV by the end of the decade.

Interestingly, though, the firm is set to develop hydrogen models, something Bolloré described as the “logical complementary step” to electric cars, with prototype hydrogen fuel cell cars set to be out testing on the roads by the end of 2021.

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