Jaguar Land Rover to build Evoque and Freelander SUVs in China plant

Local production of the Range Rover Evoque, shown, and Land Rover Freelander will help JLR boost sales in China's booming SUV market.
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LONDON -- Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to build the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Freelander SUVs in the company's new China plant, a source said.

JLR said last week that the company will start production at the factory with joint venture partner Chery Automobile late this year.

The company has not said which models it will build in the plant in the eastern city of Changshu.

However, a source familiar with the company's plans told Automotive News Europe that JLR plans to produce the Evoque and Freelander at the factory.

Local production will help JLR boost sales in China's booming SUV market. SUV sales in the country rose 41 percent to 319,200 in May, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

JLR's China sales increased by 53 percent to 10,880 vehicles in in May, according to company data. Five-month sales rose 46 percent to 50,900.

The factory will have an initial annual capacity of 130,000 units.

JLR also plans to open an engine plant next to the vehicle factory to build the company's new range of four-cylinder engines.

The vehicle plant will also build cars for a Chery/JLR joint brand, a company spokesperson said. No date was given for production of the cars, which are expected to be based on existing JLR products.

You can reach Nick Gibbs at nick.gibbs@btinternet.com.

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