Jaguar Land Rover China Production to Start End of This Year

Tata Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar Land Rover unit plans to start making cars in China by the end of this year.

“They start to make the first prototype bodies this week, and it’s almost a miracle that’s come out of the ground in such a short period of time,” Jaguar Land Rover China President Bob Grace told reporters today at the Beijing motor show. “It’s going to be a product from the Land Rover stable, so it’s going to be an SUV,” he said, without identifying the specific model.

The maker of Range Rover SUVs and Jaguar F-Type convertibles expects to begin selling the SUV, built by its Chinese venture with Chery Automobile Co. in Changshu, by early 2015. The vehicle will have an engine size of under 2 liters, Grace said. Manufacturing in China is key to JLR’s earnings growth in the world’s largest auto market as it allows companies to avoid the nation’s 25 percent import tariff.

Local production will help the carmaker reduce prices by about 15 percent, Grace said. The plant will have an initial annual production capacity of 130,000 vehicles, he said.

Jaguar Land Rover’s China profits are buoying parent company Tata, India’s biggest automaker by revenue, as an industrywide slump in domestic demand dents sales of its namesake brand.

— With assistance by Craig Trudell

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