Fleet News

X-type plant confirms Ford's UK commitment

FORD has confirmed its commitment to car manufacturing in the UK at the opening of a £300 million Jaguar plant at Halewood, Merseyside - home of the new X-type compact executive saloon. Hailing the rejuvenated plant as 'one of the biggest turnarounds in British industrial history', Ford Motor Company chief executive officer Jac Nasser said the state of the art manufacturing facility was the biggest single step in Jaguar's massive growth strategy.

Jaguar chairman and vice-president of Ford's Premier Automotive Group Dr Wolfgang Reitzle went one step further, confirming that the new F-type sports car would be built at one of Jaguar's three UK factories and hinting that the parent company would be making further investment in the PAG's other British marques - Land Rover and Aston Martin. 'This is a great British success story,' said Reitzle, who also confirmed that a diesel X-type was in the pipeline.

'This is the single biggest investment in Jaguar's growth strategy - which is to double production as new models like the S-type, the X-Type and the forthcoming F-type are introduced to the range and we will continue this process to achieve Jaguar's potential as a global brand,' he said. 'Jaguar, with Land Rover and Aston Martin, form a significant part of the motor industry in Britain. We have growth plans for all these marques and they all have a bright future.'

Managing director Jonathan Browning said the X-type would more than double Jaguar's sales worldwide and when the F-type is added in three to four years' time, Jaguar will have transformed from a two car line niche player to a five car line company which is a significant competitor to Mercedes, BMW and Lexus in every major market across the globe.

Halewood, which until last year built Ford Escort cars and vans, now has the capacity to build 107,000 X-types a year - 80% of which will be exported. The metamorphosis from Ford factory to Jaguar plant has safeguarded 3,000 jobs at Halewood. A further 500 jobs have been created at an adjacent supplier park and in the construction of a brand new railhead, from which 70% of production will be shipped to market - saving some 45,000 lorry journeys or 8.7 million road miles every year.

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