It’s official! British car-maker Jaguar Land Rover has announced it will be ready to kick off production in Nitra, Slovakia, in early September.
With the expansion of certain logistics installations, and the addition of facilities capable of assembling battery modules for future electric and hybrid vehicles, the almost completed 300,000m² 1.4-billion-euro plant is already expected to be bigger than originally planned. It will have the capacity for producing 150,000 vehicles a year once three shifts of workers are in place by incorporating cutting-edge manufacturing technologies as well as a range of environmental measures, such as water saving devices and heat recovery systems.
An on-site 3,000m² Training Academy recently opened its doors with the aim of training future employees. According to Jaguar Land Rover’s HR director, the Academy will offer a strong six-level programme “tailored to the plant’s needs […] and address the obvious lack of qualified workforce in Slovakia”. The British car-maker supposedly plans to also launch a four-year course in mechatronics in cooperation with the Secondary Vocational School Polytechnic DSA in Nitra.
Jaguar Land Rover currently employs 1,300 people and plans to employ 2,800 in its Nitra plant by 2020 when it reaches its planned three shifts. More than 40,000 people have reportedly registered their interest in working at the new plant since Slovakia landed the project back in 2016.
With negotiations supposedly dating back to January 2015, Slovakia’s success was no easy feat as it had to compete with neighbours Poland and Hungary as well as other potential sites in the United States and Mexico.
Over the past two decades, Slovakia has indeed become a formidable auto producer and the 5.4-million-nation is today the largest producer of cars per capita, with a yearly production of around a million cars; it is the 20th biggest vehicle producer in the world and 6th in the European Union – amazing figures that are expected to rise once Jaguar Land Rover starts production in Nitra.
There are in fact three other Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) plants in Slovakia, the most prestigious of them being Volkswagen’s facility near Bratislava which makes the Audi Q7 as well as the body-in-white for the Bentley Bentayga SUV – others include Kia’s large facility in Zilina and PSA Peugeot Citroën’s Trnava Plant.
There are now even rumours of a fifth car-maker coming to Slovakia, and the first hints seem to point towards BMW, which would come to a new industrial park near Košice.
Get a sneak peek inside the Nitra plant here (no subtitles):