The plant director of Jaguar Land Rover’s factory in Halewood hailed its workforce as a credit to the UK and called the company “the envy of many manufacturers across the UK.”
Speaking at an event at Liverpool’s Racquet Club hotel, Richard Else praised the 4,500-strong workforce, saying: “Our people are the future of our business and are a real credit to Liverpool and beyond.”
Halewood builds the award-winning Range Rover Evoque, which counts Victoria Beckham and the Top Gear team among its fans, as well as the Land Rover Freelander2.
The plant, which was 50 years old last year, produces a premium vehicle every 82 seconds to sell to more than 170 worldwide markets and also celebrated the construction of their one millionth vehicle last year.
Halewood factory embodies the enthusiastic Liverpool spirit
The workforce at the Halewood factory has tripled in less than three years and competition to work at the plant is stiff with 35,000 applications for the last 1,000 roles.
Talking about being based in Liverpool, Mr Else said: “I love the passion, enthusiasm, commitment and community spirit of Liverpool and the inner strength of the city. It’s this which has helped us through our past.”
It’s not always been such a success
He also acknowledged a “turbulent” past in the 1990s when the plant came near to closure because it could not rival the output of continental European plants: “In 1999 the plant was given another chance under the guidance of Jaguar and this started an unparalleled transformation. We worked with the workforce to change the culture of the plant and really engage the power and energy of the workforce,” he said.
Jaguar Land Rover was bought by Indian conglomerate Tata Motors in June 2008, but a few weeks later the financial crash hit the market, spelling disaster for many car manufacturers.
Despite this, Jaguar Land Rover managed to keep their heads above water and just a few days ago reported their fourth consecutive year of profit growth.
The carmaker raked in their largest-ever profit of £2.5 billion made in the past 12 months, which equates to a staggering £6.85 million a day, £4,756 a minute or roughly £80 a second.
Re-investment is the next step for JLR
JLR said they would reinvest their profits back into the company by spending £2.68 billion in the coming year on new products, architectures, power trains and technologies as well as increased manufacturing capacity at an expanded plant in their Solihull site.
Additionally, money will also be put towards a new £500m engine plant at the i54 site on the outskirts of Wolverhampton which is nearing completion and will eventually employ around 1,400 people to start production of the new Jaguar Ingenium engines early next year which are due to go into the new Jaguar XE Saloon, due to be unveiled later this summer.
John Hall, the chief executive of Professional Liverpool, the company who organised the event, said: “It was inspiring to hear Richard’s story of Halewood and how the skilled workforce fought to keep manufacturing at the plant and indeed in the UK.”