JLR aluminium car plantJaguar Land Rover has revealed plans to build a new car plant in Slovakia to add much-needed extra production capacity of up to 300,000 cars a year.

The firm has signed a Letter of Intent with the Slovak Republic government and will now undertake a feasibility study for the medium-sized new car plant.

JLR intends the new Slovakia plant will build aluminium Jaguar and Land Rover models, with first cars coming off the production line from 2018.

This makes it likely the new Slovak factory would build the new Land Rover Defender, currently without an obvious production base in the UK as JLR’s three UK plants bulge at the seams.

The current Defender is built at the Land Rover Solihull plant, but in small numbers: the new model would have to be built in much greater numbers to be viable, and Solihull doesn’t have the space since it took on production of the new Jaguar XE.

Confirmation that Jaguar Land Rover wants to build its new factory in Slovakia follows analysis of other countries in Europe, plus the United States and Mexico.

Dr Ralf Speth, JLR CEO, said, “The expansion of our business globally is essential to support its long-term, resilient growth.

“As well as creating additional capacity, it allows us to invest in the development of more new vehicles and technologies, which supports jobs in the UK.”

Explaining why Slovakia was chose, Dr. Speth said: “With its established premium automotive industry, Slovakia is an attractive potential development opportunity for us.

He also moved to reassure UK workers that jobs here are not under threat. “The new factory will complement our existing facilities in the UK, China, India and the one under construction in Brazil.”