‘The reality is customers have no idea where their cars are built’

The fact that the E-Pace will be the first Jaguar built outside the UK won’t hurt sales, argues Graham Hope

Is it important where a car is built? It’s a particularly pertinent question to ask this week, when our cover star is the E-Pace – the first ever Jaguar not to be produced in the UK. It’s set to be manufactured in Graz in Austria.

Also featuring in our issue is the Lynk & Co 01, an SUV that will be sold globally by Volvo’s owner Geely but made in China. That would have set the alarm bells ringing for many a decade ago, but editor in chief Steve Fowler tells me he was massively impressed with the car’s quality when he went for an exclusive ride around the streets of Gothenburg.

Prices and specs for the Jaguar E-Pace

At the same time I was in Morocco at a Dacia plant that has produced a million cars in five years. Buyers in Spain, France and Germany buy Sanderos from there in their thousands, with no quibbles. I asked Dacia’s commercial director François Mariotte, an experienced Renault Group man, why the company had chosen to manufacture cars there.

His response was instant. “The quality of the car is never determined by the country it’s built in. It’s determined by the processes we put into the factory.” And yet you don’t need to venture too far online to find the argument being put forward that the new E-Pace isn’t a “real Jag” because it won’t be built here.

Like many of you, I would prefer it if the Jag was made in the UK. Britain has proven itself to be great at producing cars, and it would mean more jobs. But as Jaguar doesn’t have the capacity, it won’t be. What I can’t accept, though, is the suggestion it will be in any way inferior because of this. Jaguar simply won’t allow it. And it won’t harm sales, either.

Because as Mariotte candidly told me: “A lot of consumers have no idea where their cars are built. So it’s never an issue.” That’s the brutal reality which will ensure we can expect more cars to come from previously unlikely locations in future.

Does it matter to you that the E-Pace is being built in Austria? Tell us your thoughts in the comments area below.

Most Popular

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover
Volkswagen Taigo R-Line - front
Volkswagen Taigo

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover

The new VW Taigo is a sportier, more aggressive looking version of the brand’s T-Cross and is aimed at lifestyle buyers
29 Jul 2021
Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition
Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition - front
Land Rover Defender

Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition

Just 220 examples will be built to honour past Camel Trophy Land Rovers, all of which have been reserved for the North American market
30 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021