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Grant for Land Rover, but not Solihull plant

LAND Rover has confirmed the Lode Lane production site will not suffer in the wake of a £27million grant heading to Merseyside rather than Solihull.

LAND Rover has confirmed the Lode Lane production site will not suffer in the wake of a £27million grant heading to Merseyside rather than Solihull.

The government funding has been offered to the car giant for the production of an all-new vehicle which will take place at the award-winning plant in Halewood.

The car giant will decide on the go-ahead of the £400million project later in the year and initial fears that the borough’s plant may suffer have been quashed.

A spokesman for Land Rover said the new model, which would be the smallest, lightest and most efficient it has ever produced will be a new model and ‘not a replacement’.

“The funding will not have absolutely no effect on Solihull,” he said.

“It will simply enable the production of a new Range Rover to take place at Halewood.”

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham and Solihull Chamber of Commerce also added: “We understand that the project has yet to be finalised but it will draw heavily on the excellent research and development work carried at by JLR in the Midlands.

“If and when the vehicle goes into production, it will be assembled in Liverpool but the company assures us that it will not have a negative impact on the Lode Lane production plant.”

The grant is separate from the automotive support package currently being unveiled by the government and instead is available under the Government’s Grant for Business Investment scheme.

Although it still has to go through a number of approval gateways in the product development process before getting the final go-ahead, managing director of Lane Rover, Phil Popham is remaining optimistic.

“We welcome the Government’s support for this project, which would form a key part of our future product plans and which we very much want to put into production.

“Despite the current economic challenges, we remain committed to investing for the future, to continue to deliver relevant vehicles for our customers, with the outstanding breadth of capability for which we are world-renowned.”

The car would be based on Land Rover’s acclaimed LRX Concept vehicle and Mr Popham is confident it can be a success.

“Our engineering feasibility study has shown that we can very successfully deliver Range Rover levels of quality, drivability and breadth of performance in a more compact, more sustainable, package.

 

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