Sun, Apr 26, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Jaguar considering Mexican factory


Visitors look at cars on display at the Jaguar and Land Rover booth at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday.

Photo: EPA

Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC is considering building a plant in Mexico, following other luxury car makers lured by cheap labor and free-trade agreements.

Mexico is a “very strong option” for Jaguar Land Rover to invest in, possibly to the order of more than US$500 million, Jaguar brand in Mexico director-general Joseph ChamaSrour said.

“Three years from now it could be interesting to have a plant in North America, and Mexico would definitely be a very strong candidate, because of the cost of labor, the logistics and the expertise of the whole supply network,” he said in an interview in Mexico City.

Land Rover’s Range Rover Vogue and Range Rover Sport are top sellers in the US and could possibly be produced at a new Mexico factory, because it would be tied to the US market, ChamaSrour said. He did not rule out producing Jaguars at the plant.

Automakers are flocking to Mexico to take advantage of a low-wage, yet highly-experienced labor base, and export access to the US and other countries through the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Jaguar, owned by India’s Tata Motors Ltd, would tread a well-worn path to Mexico, which has already wooed Germany’s premier luxury brands.

BMW AG last year committed US$1 billion to start turning out 150,000 cars in 2019, following Volkswagen AG’s Audi and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz in deciding since 2012 to build cars in Mexico.

Earlier this month Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s best-selling automaker, said it would spend about US$1 billion to begin producing Corollas in 2019 in Mexico, its first car factory in the country as it ends a self-imposed freeze on new plants following the financial crisis.

Hyundai Motor Co also might build a factory in the country, its managing director in Mexico said earlier this month, joining a roster of other Asian manufacturers, including Nissan Motor Co and Honda Motor Co.

Meanwhile, US tire maker Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co is to build an US$500 million factory in central Mexico that is to produce 6 million tires per year for customers across the Americas, the company said on Friday.

The tire plant is to be built in the state of San Luis Potosi and is scheduled to begin production in mid-2017, chief executive Richard Kramer said at a ceremony alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in the country’s capital.

The investment is expected to cost between US$500 million and US$550 million and employ about 1,000 people. The company plans to break ground in June.

Additional reporting by AFP

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