Jaguar Land Rover seen parking new manufacturing plant in Central Europe

Photo: Jan Říha

Rumours are circulating that a major car manufacturer is eyeing up locations in Central Europe for a new plant. And top of the range producer Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India’s Tata Motors, is usually singled out as the likely investor. According to various sources, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary are in the running for the massive investment.

Photo: Jan Říha
As the saying goes: you pays your money and takes your choice. More specifically, these days you trawl the Internet and see what’s being said.

One thing appears clear, India’s biggest vehicle producer, Tata Motors, through its British-based unit Jaguar Land Rover, is toying with the idea of a new manufacturing plant. And it appears that it is focused on Central Europe.

Here though the stories diverge. According to reports by Slovak public radio and television, Slovakia is in the driving seat to land this investment with the government fine tuning its final seductive offers to the manufacturer.

A 400 hectare site at Nitra has been earmarked not just for the car plant which could employ up to 8,000 but also for the accompanying parts producer and training centre. Slovak media say the main rival for the site is Poland. Hungary and the Czech Republic had been in contention but dropped out in the previous round.

Over to Poland, here the business magazine Puls Biznisu says a site near Wroclaw, Western Poland, is in contention. It talks about 6,000 jobs instead of 8,000. And according to the Polish publication, the main rival is the Czech Republic with Slovakia and Hungary failing to impress previously.

The company is making no comment and ministries and local authorities in various countries also say they are bound by an information embargo, usually a sure sign that something is stirring.

From the Czech side, India is one of the target markets where the Czech Republic would like to boost its trade relations. Minister for Industry and Trade Jan Mládek made a trade and business promoting visit there at the start of the year. But the indications are that the talk then was more about Czech heavy truck producer Tatra, and its efforts to overcome obstacles to lucrative deals in the country after a local bribery and corruption scandal, than Tata Motors and its expansion plans. There have been no hints or signals that an expansion by a major car producer is on the horizon.

Jaguar and Land Rover, sold to Tata Motors in 2008 and combined together in a single company in 2013, is booming. Car sales in 2014 rose by around 9.0 percent to around 463,000. The biggest single market was China. And the sales boom for this top end of the auto market shows little sign of slowing down. Latest sales figures for April were at a record high at just over 37,000, around 32,000 coming from the Land Rover side and just over 5,300 for Jaguar. Jaguar Land Rover has openly vaunted its plans for global growth which would likely see it expanding outside its main British manufacturing base.