Tata's Jaguar Land Rover today rolled out its premium Range Rover Evoque at colourful ceremony here formally inaugurating its over USD 1.7 billion factory where it is set to manufacture new Jaguar models in a joint venture with China's Chery Automobile Company by 2016.
Tata Group's Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata, group Chairman Cyrus Mistry along with top British and Chinese officials took part in the inauguration of the new plant which has begun production of the cars, which has been one of fast selling luxury brand vehicles in China, the world's largest automobile market.
Land Rover, which has become niche vehicle among the Chinese wealthy, is already selling about lakh of imported vehicles, making China its largest market. The new factory is expected to cater for about 30 per cent rise in JLR sales in Chinese market. With 27 million car sales per annum China currently has the biggest automobile market in the world constituting one fourth of the global market.
The 400,000 square-metres plant was launched within two years of foundation laying ceremony.
Located in the Changshu Economic Development Zone north of Shanghai, the factory is part of a RMB 10.9 billion joint venture investment plan.
Besides Tatas, Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, and Yin Tongyao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chery Automobile Company, welcomed the formal opening of the facility that aims to be the most advanced and efficient car factory in China.
"The opening of this world-class facility is an important milestone for Jaguar Land Rover. Since its launch, one in five Range Rover Evoques have been sold in China," Speth said.
"Our decision to manufacture the Range Rover Evoque in Changshu is a result of our commitment to bringing more Chinese vehicles to Chinese customers," he said.
Speaking to the media ahead of the launch, Speth played down concerns over continued slow down of the Chinese economy which registered 7.3 per cent quarterly growth, slowest since 2009. The Chinese GDP is expected to miss the official target of 7.5 per cent this year.
Stating that China's growth still high, he said what matters is the growth in absolute terms and JLR is bullish about.