Prototypes of the new XJ were spotted testing last year
Covid delayed the pivotal new Jaguar XJ, which was supposed to herald a bright new future for Castle Bromwich
Back in July 2019, Jaguar Land Rover outlined a transformation at its Castle Bromwich factory that was to be “the most significant in the plant’s history”.
A huge investment converting it to build electric cars was backed up by a £500 million government loan guarantee.
First up from the new-look Castle Bromwich was to be the all-new Jaguar XJ in 2020. Then Covid hit, causing a pause on all non-essential spending. The XJ was one of the models affected.
Jaguar has said nothing officially since it released a preview image of the XJ in September 2019. The longer the silence on the XJ and Castle Bromwich goes on, the more deafening it becomes.
We understand the project remains ongoing, but the number of test mules of the next Range Rover running around the Midlands versus anything else shows you JLR’s priorities and how close (or not) an XJ launch is.
Until that happens, speculation about Castle Bromwich’s future won’t go away. It was the last JLR plant to get up and running after the Covid shutdown and the XE, one of only three models made there (alongside the XF and F-Type), has been taken off sale in the US.
Amid the delays, perhaps there is soul searching as to whether Jaguar needs a lower-volume large electric luxury saloon when there remain problems – but also opportunities – with the more volume end of its range.