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Jaguar Land Rover begins work on new UK innovation center
Dignitaries assemble to unveil the foundation stone for JLR’s US$224m facility, which will be at the heart of the OEM’s future development projects
Jaguar Land Rover has begun construction on its new National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC). The US$224m (£150m) facility, set to open in spring 2017, will provide the OEM with a state-of-the-art technology hub for its advanced research team, as well as for collaborative partners from the company’s supply chain, and academia.
The UK facility, JLR claims, will keep both the UK and the OEM at the forefront of global innovation, enabling the research team to develop vehicles and personal mobility solutions of the future.
The NAIC is also intended to inspire the next generation of engineers, right the way through from schoolchildren to undergraduates. This new batch of creative minds will develop the skills required to keep the UK globally competitive. The new facility will complement Jaguar Land Rover’s existing product research and development centers in Gaydon and Whitley. The NAIC is a partnership between the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, and the UK government’s Higher Education Funding Council England.
A host of figures, including Ratan Tata (chairman emeritus of Tata Group), Cyrus Mistry (chairman of Tata Group), Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth and Kumar Bhattacharyya (chairman and founder of WMG) assembled to unveil the foundation stone for the NAIC at the University of Warwick last week.
The ceremony marked the formal launch of the construction phase for the US$224m project. The 33,000m2 facility will boast cutting-edge workshops, laboratories, virtual engineering suites and advanced powertrain facilities, equipped to enable a full range of design, visualization and prototyping activities.
The development of the NAIC project is the next stage in Jaguar Land Rover’s strategy to develop its global R&D and engineering capability. Jaguar Land Rover currently employs more than 8,000 engineers and designers in the UK and is investing more than ever before in new technologies, skills and facilities. In the financial year 2015/16, the business will invest up to US$5.7bn (£3.8bn) in product creation.
“The National Automotive Innovation Centre will serve as a generator of new skills and new thinking, providing a perfect, collaborative environment in which to learn, research and develop the designs and technologies that will shape the vehicles and personal mobility solutions of the future,” says Jaguar Land Rover’s Speth. “As well as helping Jaguar Land Rover create key technologies that will deliver new experiences for our customers, smarter, safer and more connected cars and a low-carbon future, the center will deliver wider benefits to the UK automotive industry. The NAIC will have a significant role inspiring the engineers of tomorrow and will help develop the skills we need the UK to nurture and develop to ensure we remain globally competitive.”
The NAIC will also start to address the shortage of skilled R&D staff in the automotive supply chain. The aim is to help create a pipeline of people into companies nationwide, including the creation of many apprentices in specific areas of vehicle technology.
When the center opens, 1,000 people will work at the NAIC. JLR will co-locate 600 of its engineers, researchers and technologists at the facility, enabling collaboration with academics and R&D specialists from across the automotive sector.
While the NAIC will become the hub for our advanced research teams, Gaydon and Whitley will continue to be Jaguar Land Rover’s centers of excellence for engineering and product development.
23 March 2015