JLR announces significant investment in manufacturing
05 March 2013
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has unveiled plans for further investment in its UK manufacturing operations, including plans to increase investment in its new Engine Manufacturing Centre to more than £500m.
In addition, the company says it will invest £2.75bn in product creation during the year to support its plans to introduce eight new or refreshed products during the year. These include the Jaguar F-TYPE and the introduction of the world's first nine-speed automatic gearbox (ZF's new 9HP unit) to the Land Rover Evoque range later this year (see item at foot of this article). The announcements were made at the Geneva Motor Show.
The company says its new UK Engine Manufacturing Centre (located at the i54 South Staffordshire development) is essential to support its long-term strategic growth plans and will be the home for a new generation of technologically advanced, lightweight 4-cylinder low emission diesel and petrol engines. The investment will almost double the number of highly skilled engineering and manufacturing jobs at the plant, taking the total number of people who will be employed at the site to almost 1,400.
Speaking at the Geneva show, JLR's chief executive officer, Ralf Speth said:"Jaguar Land Rover's new Engine Manufacturing Centre in the UK is a clear demonstration of our business strategy guiding our investment plans. Not only does it bring our engine supply back to our production doorstep, but it gives us significant new resource as we continue to innovate with new products and markets."
The new family of engines is currently under development at JLR's advanced research and development facility. It will strengthen and expand the company's engine range supporting future product development plans.
At almost 100,000 square metres, the plant will include an engine testing centre alongside the manufacturing and assembly halls. The building will meet the highest standards of sustainable production and will feature a variety of energy efficiency technologies. It is expected to open later this year with the first engines coming off the production line in 2015.
The ZF 9HP automatic gearbox
The Geneva Motor Show also saw ZF launching the world's first nine-speed automatic transmission (the 9HP) for passenger cars with front-transverse engines. The new gearbox will have its first volume production run in the Land Rover Evoque.
Compared with a standard six-speed automatic transmissions for front-transverse installations, ZF's 9HP considerably cuts fuel consumption and consequently CO2 emissions. The very high transmission spread enhances ride comfort and also makes sure that the engine always runs in the most economical speed range.
The high number of speeds of the 9HP is achieved with the help of four individual gearsets and six shifting elements. It was a special challenge to place all these components in the transmission.
Because of transmission installation space restrictions, the gearsets have not been allocated one behind the other on the 9HP's longitudinal axis but instead are nested in. This concept was supplemented by using hydraulically operated constant-mesh elements; these can be integrated without major impact on the transmission length and feature a high level of efficiency.