Jaguar will announce at the end of this year whether a UK site has been chosen for manufacture of its £500m new small car, code-named X400.
A team of 50 engineers at Jaguar’s Whitley engineering centre near Coventry is making a feasibility study on the proposed new model, which will be about the same size as a BMW 3-Series. The team will report to Jaguar’s bosses at Ford Motor Company in Detroit in the autumn.
There is no guarantee that the cars will be built in Britain. Germany and the US are also in contention.
Jaguar’s sites in Coventry and at Castle Bromwich would need extensive investment to be able to produce in volume. The Castle Bromwich factory is the subject of a £600m investment for the X200 mid-range car – the size of a BMW 5-Series – due for launch in 1999.
If the X400 gets the go-ahead, it will substantially increase Jaguar’s production volumes to close to 200,000 cars per year. Production last year was 39,000.