Jaguar Land Rover is to move all production of its Discovery from the UK to Slovakia in a move that could lead to job losses.
Britain’s biggest carmaker, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, said production will be transferred early next year.
In 2016, the company said it would produce Discovery models in Slovakia. But its announcement that it will move all production to the Eastern European country comes as a surprise.
“The decision to move the Land Rover Discovery to Slovakia and the potential losses of some agency employed staff in the UK is a tough one but forms part of our long-term manufacturing strategy as we transform our business globally,” Jaguar Land Rover said in a statement.
It also said it would spend millions on its Solihull plant to produce electric vehicles and produce the next Range Rover Evoque at its Halewood site, which also makes Discovery models.
Image: Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull manufacturing plant in Birmingham
“This significant investment and technology upgrade in Solihull in order to accommodate our next-generation of flagship Land Rover models, and the refit of our Halewood plant for the next Evoque, is proof that we remain committed both to the UK and to transformation and growth,” the company said.
Last month, the company said fourth-quarter pre-tax profit halved to £364m on revenues of £7.6bn as demand for diesel vehicles slumped. It also blamed uncertainty over Brexit and vehicle taxation.
Its sales of diesel vehicles fell 12.8% in the year to March as customers steered clear of diesel-powered cars in the UK.
More from Business
All new models will be electrified by 2020, the company has said previously.
Jaguar Land Rover plans to invest £4.5bn in the current financial year, after investing £4.2bn last year in new vehicles, upgrading manufacturing plants and research and development.