Fleet News

Halewood to build baby Jaguar

FORD has confirmed Halewood as the home of the new baby Jaguar in an announcement at the Detroit Motor Show. The Merseyside manufacturing plant beat off competition from a German factory and two US sites following a protracted evaluation process.

It will build the new X400 compact executive car, which will compete with the BMW 3-series and Audi A4 when it hits the market early next century. Jaguar chairman Nick Scheele said: 'This is excellent news for Jaguar. Our preference, naturally, was to build the car in the UK and I regret that we weren't able to make the new car at our plants in the West Midlands.'

The outcome was heavily dependent on the Government coming up with a competitive aid package and will safeguard 1,800 jobs at the former Escort plant, which will effectively become another Jaguar factory when Escort production stops in 2000. The new vehicle will quadruple Jaguar's total production to 200,000 units and will be a major boost to UK exports as well as providing much needed new jobs and investment on Merseyside.

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