by Tim Barnes-Clay, the man behind the wheel.
Date: 11 March 2011
Lincolnshire and Yorkshire Local Regions Businesses Support New Range Rover Evoque
UK Business Secretary Dr. Vince Cable recently toured Jaguar Land Rover's Halewood Operations facility on Merseyside to experience first-hand the positive impact the imminent launch of the new Range Rover Evoque will have on the UK economy.
Dr Cable's visit to Jaguar Land Rover came as the company announced more than £2 billion worth of supply contracts for the Range Rover Evoque, awarded to more than 40 companies in the UK. The contracts follow the completion of a global competitive tendering exercise on component-sourcing for the vehicle, which will arrive in dealerships this year. More than 100,000 customers globally have already formally registered interest in the Evoque.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Jaguar Land Rover's news that it's awarding £2 billion worth of contracts to businesses in the UK to supply components for the Evoque shows that the UK automotive supply chain is capable of winning major contracts and creating vital jobs in the UK."
Jaguar Land Rover is a key player within the UK economy. It is the largest investor in automotive research, development and engineering in this country and it generates billions of pounds of economic activity every year. 1,500 new jobs will be created in Halewood to support the launch of the Evoque, and Jaguar Land Rover is investing in advanced research, design and technical innovation with key strategic partners, which will mean the creation of thousands more skilled jobs in the UK automotive supply chain.
The successful companies supporting the launch of the Evoque are located throughout the UK, including Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. These incorporate International Automotive Components (IAC) which has won a contract worth over £500 million to supply the instrument panel, centre console, cockpit, upper pillar trim, lower pillar trim, modular headliner system, wheel arch liners, door modules and rear loadspace sides. Each of IAC's UK plants has seen considerable investment in new high technology equipment in preparation for this work, and the company has created new high value skilled jobs in these facilities including 94 in Scunthorpe.
In Yorkshire, specialists from technical injection moulders McKechnie Plastic Components (MPC), have worked alongside Land Rover engineers at the company's Gaydon design centre to create and develop highly complex plastic components. These had to be both technically innovative and economical to produce, as well as meeting the highest performance and environmental standards. In total, nearly 50 different parts were created across many areas of the vehicle's design including body side and wheel arch mouldings, high gloss cappings for the A, B, C and D pillars, and a range of complex ducting and aerodynamic systems.
The contract value is over £50 million and MPC has invested nearly £5 million in factory modifications and extensions in the installation of a number of new machines. McKechnie are using the services of 85 people in manufacturing, logistics, technical, and quality departments at their two sites in Stamford Bridge and Pickering in North Yorkshire.
McKechnie Sales and Marketing Director Mike Murphy said, "The Range Rover Evoque project is a team effort and technically we have pushed the boundaries to achieve optimal design solutions that are innovative yet practical. The significant investment in latest automation technology and moulding cells will result in components made in the UK that set new benchmarks."
It comes as no surprise then that the Range Rover Evoque is attracting so much attention. And rightly so, because aimed squarely at the executive market, the all-new car promises to deliver premium levels of craftsmanship, economy, luxury, performance and renowned Land Rover all-terrain capability into a shrink-wrapped package.
Offering CO2 emissions sub 130g/km and fuel economy of 58mpg combined, the Evoque will be the lightest, most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever. Lightweight construction techniques and the addition of a front-wheel drive variant will, according to Jaguar Land Rover, ensure optimum efficiency is achieved. New state-of-the-art petrol and diesel engines will come with direct injection and Stop/Start technology. The Range Rover Evoque will also adopt low CO2 systems such as electric power-assisted steering.
Looks-wise the Evoque certainly marks a bold evolution of Range Rover design. With a striking rising beltline, a muscular shoulder running the length of the car, and a distinctive taper to the floating roofline, the car adopts an extremely vibrant profile with a commanding and muscular stance. Inside, the cabin delivers exactly what you would expect; sumptuous surroundings with premium quality materials and an elegance befitting of a Range Rover interior. The Evoque will indubitably tempt a whole new generation of business executives who want a large, stylish vehicle that delivers decent fuel economy, low emissions and oodles of style. The car is due to go on sale in the UK this summer, priced from £30,000.