S Kalyana Ramanathan / London March 12, 2009
The UK government today approved a grant of £27 million (Rs 192 crore) to Tata Group-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) for producing a new eco-friendly car based on the Land Rover’s LRX Concept that was first showcased at the 2008 edition of Geneva Motor Show.
The company is yet to officially announce if it would go ahead with this project and therefore will use this grant. Earlier this month JLR had managed to secure a major three-year deal to supply 13,000 cars to China worth £ 600 million (Rs 4400 crore) and later secured a pay freeze deal with its workers that will help save £68 million a year.
“We welcome the government's support for this project, which would form a key part of our future product plans and which we very much want to put into production,” said Phil Popham, managing director of Land Rover. The overall cost of this new project to produce the new car based on the LRX Concept is expected to be £400 million.
“It would be the smallest, lightest and most efficient Range Rover that we've ever built," Popham added. “Despite the current economic challenges, we remain committed to investing for the future, to continue to deliver relevant vehicles for our customers..." he added.
A JLR spokesperson later added, “It (new project) still has a number of approval gateways to go through in our product development process before we can give it the go ahead and that process won’t be completed until later this year.” The new model is expected to push the company a few steps closer to its goal to exceed a 20 per cent improvement in the CO2 emission.
The new product will be developed and produced from the company Halewood plant which employs 2000 people. The plant currently produces the Land Rover Freelander 2 and Jaguar X-Type models.