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Jaguar Land Rover to build plant in Slovakia

Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover has signed a deal with the Slovakian government to build its first plant in continental Europe. The total value of the investment is expected to top 1 billion pounds.

The manufacturing facility is set to start turning out cars in 2018, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) chief executive Ralf Speth said on Friday.

"The new factory will complement our existing facilities in the UK, China, India and Brazil and marks the next step in the company's strategy to become a truly global business," he said after a signing ceremony in Slovakia.

The company is planning to invest 1.1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion, 1.52 billion euros) into the project, according to Speth.

"We think long term," he said.

In turn, the Slovakian government would provide JLR with a subsidy of 130 million euros, the nation's prime minister Robert Fico said.

"This is a huge success for Slovakia," Fico told reporters, rejoicing over a "promising marriage of Slovak craftsmanship and British engineering."

Slovakia is a regional car-making powerhouse, with Volkswagen, Kia Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen all running plants in the central European country.

Going global

The UK-based JLR has grown rapidly since the Indian TATA Motors bought it from Ford in 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis.

The company has also been constructing new plants in Brazil and China.

The Slovakia plant is expected to reach an annual output of up 300,000 cars, and provide up to 4,000 new jobs.

According to Friday's announcement, construction was set to start in 2016 near the city of Nitra, some 100 kilometers (65 miles) west of the capital Bratislava.

dj/msh (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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