A number of foreign automakers have recently announced plans to open manufacturing facilities in the United States and it appears Jaguar Land Rover wants to join them.
In an interview with Wards Auto, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth said the company is always asking itself if it can open a plant in the United States and when they should do it. However, he admits Jaguar Land Rover is a “very small company” and “we need a certain volume of vehicles to be sold in the U.S. to make the overall production in the U.S. viable.”
There’s no word on how much volume would be needed to justify the opening of a production facility but Speth noted there would still be some problems even if sales climbed significantly. As he explained, the company doesn’t have a clear volume leader in the United States so if they had to export 90% or 95% of the vehicles built at an American plant then it would “never will work from a financial point of view.”
Jaguar Land Rover sold 128,097 vehicles in North America last year and its most popular models in the United States were the Range Rover Sport and Jaguar F-Pace. However, none of the company’s models exceeded 20,000 units in America and this makes justifying a production facility rather difficult.
It’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility as the publication notes Volvo is building a plant in South Carolina even though the company only sold 81,504 vehicles in the United States last year. The plant will build the new S60 and it will have a production capacity of 100,000 units annually.
Speth is well aware of Volvo’s plan but he said “Everybody’s business case is different and everybody starts maybe in a different way.” As a result, it seems like a U.S. plant won’t be given the green light until sales climb high enough to justify the investment.