Jaguar Land Rover pushes back China production to 2015

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MUMBAI (Bloomberg) -- Jaguar Land Rover output at the company's Chinese venture with Chery Automobile Co. will begin next year, later than initially expected, because of delays getting machinery and equipment, Ralf Speth, CEO of JLR, said today.

"[This year] was in principle when we expected to begin production but it was never meant to be big production," Speth said. "We may do some test building in 2014 to get the workers trained and ready; 2015 is when the production for sale will begin."

The plant is key to JLR's earnings growth in China, its largest single market, because local manufacturing allows companies to avoid the country's 25 percent import tariff. Last year, sales of Jaguars and Land Rovers in China rose 30 percent to 95,237.

The Chinese joint venture, which received its business license in November 2012, plans to invest 10.9 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) to build a factory in the eastern city of Changshu as well as an r&d center and an engine plant.

Profit at JLR increased 50 percent to 811 million pounds ($1.3 billion) in the fiscal first half ended Sept. 30, driving most of Indian parent Tata Motors Ltd.'s earnings.

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