Jaguar Land Rover’s new engine factory in Wolverhampton is ramping up ahead of producing its first engine in 2015. The plant – which is part of a £500m investment – will be staffed by 1,400 workers and is set to produce an engine every 36 seconds at full capacity.
The engines will be aluminium four-cylinder petrol and diesels of JLR’s own design and the new Jaguar XS saloon will be the first to get one of the new engines. Neither Jaguar or Land Rover has used an engine designed and built in-house since the late 90s. The first prototype engines will be produced in the spring.
Following their initial use in Jaguar’s new compact saloon, expect to see the engines used across most of the Jaguar line-up and Land Rover’s smaller models like the Evoque and Freelander. There were no details on power or engine capacities, other than the news that the manufacturing process is flexible so it’s easy to change engine capacity and add new technology into the design. Engineers are hopeful that the new units will be among the most powerful and fuel efficient on sale.
The plant itself is the size of 14 football pitches and consists of three buildings; a machining factory where the cylinder head, block and crankshaft are built, and separate petrol and diesel assembly houses. As it stands, the machining plant is 55 per cent complete, the diesel assembly 15 per cent complete and the petrol assembly about 5 per cent finished.
When the plant is fully operational machining will be done six days a week on a three-shift rotation, while the petrol and diesel assemblies will work five days a week.
At a preview of the factory, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “What you’re [Jaguar Land Rover] doing here epitomises what we need for the British economy… We need to make more things, invest in more things, train the next generation of young people and export things. That’s what is happening here.”