JAGUAR Land Rover only has enough parts in its UK factories to last the next two weeks because of the impact of the coronavirus on the carmaker’s supply chain.
The firm’s chief executive, Ralf Speth, reportedly said parts have been flown into the country from China in suitcases.
In Coventry yesterday to launch a self-driving electric vehicle dubbed Project Vector, he said JLR’s factory in China would reopen next week. But he admitted uncertainty over whether the company would have enough parts to maintain production in the UK.
‘At the moment, we are safe and we have checked everything for the next two weeks and we are also safe for the very first week in the production in China, starting next week,’ he told Sky News at the National Automotive Innovation Centre, which was opened by the Prince of Wales yesterday.
‘We don’t know how long it will take until the supply chain in China comes on stream again.’
The manufacturer described its Project Vector concept as ‘an advanced, flexible, multi-use electric vehicle that is autonomy-ready’.
It will be tried out on the city’s roads next year in collaboration with Coventry City Council and West Midlands Combined Authority. The pod, which measures just four metres long, is designed for city driving. All its battery and drivetrain components are built into the floor, allowing maximum flexibility for the space above.
Seating can be configured for private or shared use, or the vehicle can be used for commercial activities such as last-mile deliveries.
Development of the vehicle is part of JLR’s Destination Zero initiative, which focuses on eliminating emissions, accidents and congestion from our roads.
Speth said: ‘Project Vector shows Jaguar Land Rover as a leader in innovation to make our societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner.
‘Through this project, we are collaborating with the brightest minds in academia, supply chain and digital services, to create connected, integrated mobility systems – the fundamental building blocks for Destination Zero.
‘Project Vector is precisely the brave and innovative leap forward needed to deliver on our mission.’
Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero mission aims to make societies safer and healthier with a cleaner environment.
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) February 18, 2020