Midlands-based Jaguar Land Rover has opened a new high-tech production factory in Slovakia, worth £1bn.
The manufacturing plant in Nitra employs 1,500 people, with 98% of those being Slovak nationals, and will manufacture the Land Rover Discovery, making the UK car maker the first to open a factory in the former Eastern Bloc country.
The news follows Jaguar Land Rover CEO Dr Ralf Speth speaking out against prime minister Theresa May, in which the Jaguar Land Rover boss said in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the company’s factories could grind to a halt and “tens of thousands” of jobs could be lost.
Continuing on, Speth said Jaguar Land Rover was committed to the UK but warned a hard Brexit would wipe out profits – at a cost of £1.2bn a year.
He said: “What decisions will we be forced to make if Brexit means not merely that costs go up, but that we cannot physically build cars on time and on budget in the UK?”
Back in June, Jaguar Land Rover announced production of its largest model would switch from Solihull to Slovakia. This was followed by the news in September that the factory would move its workers to a three-day week schedule until Christmas.
In a statement, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Dr Ralf Speth said: “Global businesses require global operational footprints.
“While Jaguar Land Rover’s heart and soul remain firmly anchored in the UK, expanding internationally only enriches and strengthens our UK business.
“Our diverse workforce brings a wealth of experience from both automotive and broader industries.
“I am delighted to officially welcome our Slovak team to the Jaguar Land Rover global family today.”
The new 300,000 sq m plant has the capability to produce 150,000 vehicles a year.
The first Land Rover Discovery rolled off the production line in September as part of a test run.