Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will stop sourcing it’s petrol engines built at Ford’s (F.N) plant in Bridgend, Wales, after ending its current contract earlier than expected in 2020, creating uncertainty over around 750 jobs.

“Given our long-established and successful relationship in the delivery of world-class engines, this is disappointing news for the Ford Bridgend Engine Plant.”

 JLR is ending the long-standing relationship in September 2020, three months earlier than planned, a source close to the arrangements said.

Around 750 workers, about half of the plant’s total, are dedicated to JLR production, the source said.

Ford said it would “continue to look at other high technology opportunities for Bridgend in the future.”

JLR opened a new engine plant in England’s West Midlands in 2014, and in 2015 announced a plan to double its size, taking total investment to about 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion).

“Ford has been, and remains, an important strategic supplier to Jaguar Land Rover under an agreement which was negotiated to support our business until the end of the decade,” it said.

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Jaguar is set to announce a huge investment locally in a move which could bring a major jobs boost to the region, the Limerick Leader has learned.

Executives from the British company have been viewing locations in the city and the Shannon area with a view to opening a design centre in the region.

While the IDA and Jaguar were staying tight lipped this Wednesday, it’s understood company bosses have settled on a new 50,000 square feet office development in the Shannon Free Zone.

This followed meetings with IDA Ireland executives and leading business people.

It is understood that the initial jobs could be in the order of 30, rising to a figure in the hundreds, according to an industry source.

The facility will provide back office support services to Jaguar, which is headquartered near Coventry in Britain’s West Midlands.

Staff will, it is understood, also assist in the continuing development of Jaguar’s new self-driving cars.

“We’re very excited by this – it will be a great brand to get into the area,” a well-placed source told this newspaper.

It’s understood Ireland’s beneficial corporate tax regime was a major attractor to Jaguar, now owned by Indian firm Tata.

On top of this, the firm is also seeking a European base following Britain’s decision last year to quit the European Union. Ireland is set to be the only English speaking country in the European Union post Brexit.

Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on enterprise and jobs Niall Collins said: “It’s great news. It’s great to see a blue-chip employer showing interest in the region. These will no doubt be high-end, well-paid jobs.”

He said that although Jaguar may be based in the Shannon Free Zone, Limerick will feel a strong benefit – with the business park already providing employment to many families across the county already.

Jaguar is developing new self-driving cars, with tests currently under way.

The firm has said it will create a fleet of more than 100 of these vehicles over the next four years to test autonomous and connected technology, with the first hitting the streets later this year.

Jaguar has said these prototypes allows driving in complex environments without any driver involvement.

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All Jaguar Land Rover cars are to get new model designations to more easily identify their fuel types and power outputs. The changes will be rolled out with 2018 model year cars in the next few months, although the new Range Rover Velar has already adopted the new format.

Eagle-eyed Auto Express reader Don Etchells spotted an F-Typeon test that was revealing its new P380 AWD badging. The P stands for petrol, while the 380 refers to the power output in horsepower. Similarly, the new 2.0-litre four-cylinder model will be badged P300.

The Range Rover Velar range kicks off with a D180 diesel model, with the range topping model badged P380 using the same supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine as the F-Type.

With the Jaguar I-Pace launching next year and plug-in hybrid versions of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport announced at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, it means a further designation will be used for these models. So expect the initial 395bhp I-Pace to be badged E400.

Audi also recently announced changes to its model designations, but using a nomenclature that is less clear than Jaguar Land Rover’s plans. Instead, Audi has chosen a range of non-related numbers to apply to a car’s power output, that will be added to the existing engine designations such as TFSI and TDI. Audi’s new naming system will be applied to the company’s growing range of plug-in hybrids and new electric vehicles as well as conventionally powered models. All new Audis will feature the new nomenclature from next summer.

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Jaguar Land Rover is scouting for acquisitions of international automakers amid rising competition in the industry, people with knowledge of the matter said.

For those who might start thinking sacrilege, remember in 1960 Sir William Lyons single handedly purchased Daimler, Lanchester, BSA, then Coventry Climax, GUY trucks, Hobbs Transmission, Daimler Hire, Daimler Air Hire, Hooper and Barker Coachbuilders, Carbides and Stratton-Instone.  In doing so Jaguar’s founder set the precedents Tata too can build on.

The company has been holding internal discussions on buying other brands to diversify the range of vehicles it sells, the people said. It will consider purchases of luxury marques that fit with its current portfolio, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. JLR is also weighing purchases of technology companies that would boost the company’s efforts to roll out electric vehicles and autonomous driving systems, another person said.
 Tata Motors had amassed 397.6 billion rupees ($6.1 billion) of cash and equivalents at the end of June, up 87 percent from a year ago, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the second biggest among listed Indian companies, trailing Reliance Industries Ltd. The company plans to use that record hoard to add new products, technology and manufacturing capacity, Tata Motors Group Chief Financial Officer C Ramakrishnan said by email earlier this month.

Maserati, Alfa Romeo

Tata Motors gets about 78 percent of its revenue from the luxury brands, according to the Bloomberg-compiled data. No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the people said. Representatives for Tata Group and JLR declined to comment.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is considering options including a plan to spin off the Maserati and Alfa Romeo sports-car brands in order to sharpen its focus on mass-market vehicles, people familiar with the discussions said in August. Volkswagen AG has been weighing the sale of non-core assets including Italian motorcycle brand Ducati, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

In June, JLR said it was working with Lyft Inc. on autonomous-driving technology and will offer vehicles for rent to the San Francisco-based startup’s drivers. The automaker also said it had invested $25 million in Lyft as part of a funding round that closed in April, valuing the business at $7.5 billion.

Jaguar will begin selling its I-PACE electric-powered sport utility vehicle next year, and already has 25,000 orders for it, company Chief Executive Officer Ralf Speth said this month.

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Jaguar plans a successor to the F-Type sports car, and it will have an electrified powertrain.

Jaguar design chief Ian Callum, in Detroit last week, told Automotive News reporters and editors that the brand will not abandon the segment.

“We are going to do another range of sports cars eventually,” said Callum, who has led Jaguar design since 1999. “[Sports cars] are not going to go away,” he said.

The F-Type two-seater, Jaguar’s first sports car since the E-Type ended production in 1975, debuted in 2013 and returned Jaguar to a segment that helped define the brand. But sales have been slow with only about 45,000 being sold globally since launch. Through August, Jaguar sold 2,787 F-Types in the U.S., 41 more cars than in the same period a year earlier.

“There are a number of people in the world who think sports cars are finished because SUVs can get around a corner as quick as a sports car can, technology being what it is,” said Callum. “But there is something very emotional about a sports car that conveys the ultimate in the sense of performance and design.”

For the 2018 model year, Jaguar has given the F-Type a freshening that includes a lower-priced four-cylinder version. The F-Type uses a modified platform inherited from the XK, which debuted in 2005. Callum gave no timing on when the F-Type will be replaced, but Jaguar Land Rover’s North America CEO, Joe Eberhardt, confirmed the car will have an electrified powertrain.

“Every new car launched after 2020 will have some form of electrification,” he said. “That is full electric, plug-in hybrid or mild hybrids.”

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