The British-Indian carmaker Jaguar Land Rover officially opened its new production plant in Nitra on Thursday, October 25. The first UK carmaker in Slovakia is starting production with 1,500 employees and one shift. In November, it will start recruiting the further 850 employees that the company will need for the second shift. The two-shift operation will become a reality by the end of 2019. For now the carmaker plans to hire 2,800 staff in total, producing 150,000 cars annually.
The first model to be produced at the factory is the Land Rover Discovery, which will, after its production in Great Britain ceases in a few months time, be made exclusively in Nitra. The better portion of the cars produced in Nitra will be exported to more than 170 countries.
It takes six hours to assemble one car at the Nitra plant and a new car rolls off the production line every 112th second. In the beginning, the facility will produce about 30 cars per day.
Later, production will be extended with another model.
“The next model is planned in the next two years, but we won’t specify what it is yet,” said operations director Alexander Wortberg.
Boost for Slovakia’s economy
The launch of regular production at the new Jaguar Land Rover facility in Nitra will have a positive impact on the growth of Slovakia’s economy. Analysts of the Finance Ministry’s think tank, the Financial Policy Institute (IFP) assume an acceleration in the growth of the Slovak economy in the coming years partly thanks to the new carmaker, estimating 4.5 percent for 2019.
A positive development is also expected by the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS), Slovak central bank, which forecasts that economic growth should reach 4.5 percent next year, with exports benefiting from the production launch in the automotive industry.
“The expanded production capacities in the automotive industry will drive export performance along with the growth in foreign demand,” said NBS. “This growth should continue in the next year when the culmination of the effect of the new carmaker's launch is expected, which should boost economic growth.”
Jaguar Land Rover chose Slovakia as the place of its next plant outside Great Britain four years ago when construction of the facility itself began in September 2016. The investment amounts to €1.4 billion, while Slovakia has provided state aid to the tune of €129 million.
Wortberg specified that the decision to invest in Slovakia is part of a broader strategy that was adopted before the referendum on Brexit, and the current situation doesn’t change the firm’s plans in Slovakia.
“It’s important to maintain an open market that is well set in order to keep conditions unchanged,” said Wortberg, as cited by the TASR newswire. “A hard Brexit could cause us big problems. We have components that we import from the UK. We’re getting ready for a variety of scenarios in order to make sure that their supply will be secure.”
Slovakia already houses three carmakers: the oldest and the biggest is Volkswagen Slovakia in Bratislava along with the PSA Groupe in Trnava and Kia Motors Slovakia in Žilina. These manufacture more than one million cars in total annually.
25. Oct 2018 at 23:27 | Compiled by Spectator staff