Jaguar XE SolihullJaguar Land Rover has signed a deal with Magna International for the firm to build cars for JLR at its Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria.

The deal, for an unspecified number of future models yet to be announced, will ease pressure on JLR’s three at-capacity UK plants.

Jaguar XE review – 2015 first drive

The firm stressed UK factories were not at risk and this deal was to help expand the firm rather than move production away from Britain.

“The UK remains at the centre of our design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities,” said JLR CEO Dr. Ralf Speth.

“Partnerships such as this will complement our UK operations and engineering.”

Jaguar Land Rover opened its first modern overseas plant in 2014, in China. Construction is now underway on an all-new plant in Brazil. The firm also assembles cars in India, using parts shipped over from the UK.

Last year, JLR built more than 460,000 cars – most of them produced here in the UK. Its plant in Merseyside has for several years now been running around the clock and its factory in Solihull has also for some time been runnign 24/7.

What could Magna Steyr build for JLR?

Speculation now mounts as to what Magna Steyr could assemble for Jaguar Land Rover in Austria.

The firm is already a contract manufacturer for several premium brands; cars that are built or have been built there include the BMW X3, Aston Martin Rapide, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Peugeot RCZ, MINI Countryman and Paceman, Chrysler 300C and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

JLR’s new aluminium-intensive platform strategy is likely to keep high-tech Jaguars and Land Rovers in the UK, where facilities already exist. The new Jaguar XE, for example, is built at Land Rover’s Solihull plant, where aluminium facilities already exist.

The Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich is also all-aluminium and has capacity for more models: the Jaguar F-Pace is likely to be built here.

But this leaves no room for future models – and, if they’re based on a cheaper and more conventional architecture, could be assembled elsewhere. The Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque platform, currently made in Solihull, could easily be produced elsewhere, for example – its Ford roots mean such flexibility is already built in.

Some are thus speculating that Magna Steyr may assemble a future ‘baby F-Pace’ for the Jaguar brand – or, if it were designed using a highly flexible components-based platform, possibly even the new Land Rover Defender…

What new Jaguar or Land Rover do you think could be built in Austria? Share your thoughts with us below