Automotive News – Late July 2023

Estimated reading time 4 minutes

Jaguar Land Rover-owner Tata has confirmed plans to build its flagship electric car battery factory in the UK.  The new plant in Somerset is expected to create 4,000 UK jobs and thousands more in the wider supply chain.

Tata said it will invest £4bn in the site but it is understood that the government is providing subsidies worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

The plant is described as the most important investment in UK automotive since Nissan arrived in the 1980s.

The new gigafactory near Bridgwater will be one of the largest in Europe. It will make batteries for Jaguar Land Rover vehicles like Range Rover, the Defender and the Jaguar brands.

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Lotus Cars is set to cut up to 200 jobs from its workforce after the company posted heavy losses.  The Norfolk-based firm’s recent accounts show it made a loss before tax of £145.1m in 2022, versus a deficit of £86.6m in the previous year.

Lotus said it would cut back its workforce to “ensure that the right organisational structure is in place”.

The company said the move “includes a restructure of its workforce, which may involve the loss of up to 200 jobs”.

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Royal Mail has announced plans to switch its fleet of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a renewable diesel alternative, in a bid to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.

Royal Mail’s Sheffield mail centre, Midlands Super Hub, and Manchester vehicle operating centre are the initial sites switching to HVO, with four more locations set to transition in the coming months.  By implementing HVO at these sites, a total of 2.1 million litres of diesel consumption will be saved this year.

Royal Mail’s fleet director Rob Fowler said: “We consider HVO to be a transitional fuel that helps us to take steps towards decarbonising our HGV fleet whilst low-emissions technologies continue to advance in this area.

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The government remains committed to banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, cabinet minister Michael Gove has said.

Some senior Tories are calling on Rishi Sunak to scrap the deadline and row back on other green policies.

Mr Gove said some plans to tackle the climate crisis create a “backlash” but the 2030 ban was immoveable.

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Aston Martin has revealed it will invest around £2bn over the next five years, as it looks to secure long-term growth and complete its transition to electrification.

The luxury car manufacturer has earmarked £1.8bn of capital expenditure as well as £200m in tech access fees to partners such as its £182m strategic supply agreement with Lucid Group, to create high performance electric vehicles. The deal means Lucid Group will become a 3.7% shareholder.

Aston Martin says it is likely to exceed its target £2bn of revenue and £500m adjusted EBITDA by 2045/25 and has set targets of £2.5bn of revenue for 2027/28 and an EBITDA of £800m.

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Financials at luxury car maker, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), are improving, helped by an easing in supply chain issues, particularly for micro-chips, better volumes, mix and pricing.

The manufacturer reported first quarter figures for the three months to June 30, 2023, today (July 25) which revealed the group’s best first quarter free cash flow on record, at £451m.

Revenues in the first quarter of its 2024 financial year were £6.9bn, up 57% on the same quarter a year ago, with wholesale volumes of 93,253, up 30% year on year.

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