The future of the AJ supercharged V8 is secured, after much uncertainty surrounding Ford’s announcement of the closure of its engine plant in Bridgend, Wales.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will take over production of the ‘AJ’ supercharged petrol V8 in Wolverhampton, England after Ford shuts its engine plant in Wales next month.
AJ supercharged V8 will continue for another 3-5 years at JLR
Production of the AJ V8 will be moved to England from Wales
JLR expected to move to a BMW V8 to help meet future emissions norms
Why was the future of the AJ V8 uncertain?
The future of the AJ-series 8-cylinder engine – which is used in everything from theJaguar F-Type to the Range Rover (and set to be used in the new Land Rover Defender) – had been uncertain since last year, when Ford announced the closure of the facility where the engine has been built since 1996.
Where is JLR going to produce the engine?
It has now emerged that JLR will transfer the production equipment, and possibly some of the workforce, from Wales to Wolverhampton, England in a ‘lift and shift’ operation.
A statement from the firm read: “Manufacture of the JLR-designed V8 petrol engines previously made at Bridgend will move to the JLR Engine Manufacturing Centre, with further detail to be confirmed at a later date.”
What about supply while production is being moved?
Ford says production at Bridgend is now focused on work for “third parties” (JLR), with assembly of the Ford ‘Sigma’ and ‘Dragon’ engines already having been wound down. Bridgend is understood to have been building the AJ at a higher rate than required in order to build up buffer supplies while the production line is moved.
How long is the supercharged AJ V8 going to live on?
Sources suggest the AJ, now in its third generation, will continue in production for three to five years. The timing is likely to coincide with the introduction of EU7, the inevitably more stringent next step of European Union emissions regulations.
At that point, JLR is expected to adopt BMW’s V8 as part of a wide-reaching powertrain deal, as demand for the AJ V8 engine dwindles in Europe, but stays buoyant in other parts of the world.
Strong demand for the current V8 in those markets is a key motivator for JLR taking over its production and continuing to build it.