Tata-ownedJaguarLand Rover (JLR) is planning to set up a plant in eastern Europe and is zeroing in on Poland.
According to the Sunday Times, JLR executives have been weighing bids from Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Turkey for the factory, which will make about 200,000 cars a year. Senior industry sources told the newspaper that Poland had offered "huge" incentives.
Jaguar produced about 450,000 vehicles last year, but plans to expand to 1 million.The huge expansion drive has seen its three British factories in Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood pushed to capacity.The company opened a factory in China last year and another is under construction in Brazil. A decision on Poland could be announced within weeks, although sources said Slovakia remained an outside possibility.
Local reports suggested the plant could be built in Krakow at a cost of about £1.2 billion. Next on the list is expected to be a factory in the US or Mexico.The overseas drive reflects Jaguar's desire to increase production, while keeping a tight lid on costs.
Poland offers a source of skilled but affordable labour, a ready-made supply chain and a government prepared to offer a significant launch aid.
Meanwhile, the company has reported retail sales of 39,602 vehicles in June. During the first half of the year, JLR sold 239,212 vehicles, equivalent to the same period last year.
In terms of regional performance year-to-date, growth stood at 18 per ent in the UK, 16 per cent in Europe and 15 per cent in North America.