‘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 Kia EV6 2021 review
Kia EV6 front tracking
Kia EV6

New Kia EV6 2021 review

With a sporty drive, 300-plus miles of range and plenty of tech - could the new Kia EV6 be one of the best electric cars on sale?
19 Oct 2021
New Michelin Uptis airless tyre blows in ahead of 2024 launch
Michelin Uptis
News

New Michelin Uptis airless tyre blows in ahead of 2024 launch

The new airless Michelin Uptis is made from rubber and fibreglass and promises to be longer lasting, fuel-saving and recyclable
20 Oct 2021
The best 0% finance car deals 2021
Best 0% finance car deals - header
Best cars & vans

The best 0% finance car deals 2021

Tempted by a 0% APR deal? Here are our best 0% finance deals starting from only £145...
21 Oct 2021