Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) is ramping up operations in India with more investments in its dealer network and local production. Ralf Speth, CEO Jaguar-Land Rover, confirmed on the opening day of the Auto Expo 2014 that the XJ sedan would be the third model to be produced in India. However, sources within Tata Motors have confirmed that the next model in line to be locally built in India will be the 2014 Evoque with the nine-speed ZF gearbox, which made its India debut at the Auto Expo. The Evoque, which is currently imported into India, attracts cumulative taxes of around 170 percent which makes it difficult for JLR to price this stylish SUV competitively.
With the XJ just signed-off for local production, it could take a while for the Evoque to follow suit. While no timeframe has been given, we don’t expect knocked-down kits of the Evoque to arrive in India for assembly before the end of the year.
JLR knows that the key to growth in the Indian market is through local assembly, so that it can price its products in line with the competition. In fact, the bulk of JLR sales have come from the Land Rover Freelander and the base models of the Jaguar XF, which are produced in the company’s Pimpri assembly plant.
The aluminium bodied XJ is more complicated to locally produce but this has not deterred JLR. “Yes, it is a bit complicated because the XJ is one of the most complex vehicles in our lineup, but by doing this, you can see the commitment and investment by us in India,” says Speth.
JLR grew by a massive 21 percent in 2013 to make it the fastest growing luxury carmaker in the Indian market. This impressive growth, however, comes off a small base and JLR is still a distant fourth in the luxury car race behind the German trio, Audi, Mercedes and BMW. With increased local assembly, the launch of the Jaguar C-X17-based baby-Jag sedan and further dealer expansion, JLR is all set to close the gap with its rivals.