U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to press Chinese political leaders to approve a new assembly plant for Jaguar Land Rover quickly during a trade visit to the country this week, the Financial Times reported.
Jaguar Land Rover plans to build more than 50,000 cars a year in a new plant in China that will employ 5,000 people, the paper said, citing CEO Ralf Speth.
JLR wants an assembly plant in China to bypass high Chinese import duties that can double the price of a top-of-the-range Jaguar or Land Rover.
Luxury car sales are booming in China, which has passed the United States to become the world's largest auto market. “The winners and losers in the world automotive industry will be determined by what happens in China,” Speth told the paper.
JLR has already created a facility for packing sub-assemblies into crates for shipping abroad at its Halewood factory in northwest England and the project could begin “immediately” if the company reaches a joint-venture deal with a Chinese partner, Speth told the paper.
The automaker is negotiating with large state-controlled vehicle makers and with Chinese regions to find the best bridgehead into the market.
JLR wants to make Freelander and planned Evoque Land Rover SUVs in China, before introducing a Jaguar model.
The plant will cost more than 100 million pounds ($162 million) and may produce more than 150,000 cars in three years, the Financial Times said.
Ford Motor Co. sold JLR to India's Tata Motors for $2.3 billion in 2008.