Carbon emissions challenge growing, says JLR finance chief
Drive broadening footprint towards efficient products, CFO adds
By Gaurav Sharma | CFO UK | Published 12:04, 22 January 13
The carbon emissions challenge is growing bigger by the minute, according to Kenneth Gregor, CFO of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).
Speaking at an Economist Group event on Tuesday, Gregor said, “Participants in the carbon emissions debate such as ourselves need to balance customer demands versus the regulatory framework in any given jurisdiction.”
The luxury British carmaker’s CFO said it was prudent to point out that achieving CO2-emissions targets was not just about satisfying governments.
“We are increasingly noticing that customers proactively query the carbon footprint of products. It’s what is driving us towards broadening our footprint into smaller or fuel efficient products,” Gregor added.
JLR, currently active in 177 global markets, said earlier this month that it would 'consider' assembling cars in Saudi Arabia, following a production move to China announced last year.
“As a global car manufacturer facing carbon emissions targets, we have to believe that having a working relationship with governments is crucial,” Gregor added.
Production at the Chinese factory, on the outskirts of Shanghai, is expected to commence in 2015. The assembled cars would be for the Chinese market only.
Moving on to the skills agenda, in response to a question from CFOWorld, Gregor said not having enough engineering graduates in the UK was an area of concern for the company. JLR plans to build a new engine factory in Wolverhampton. Its Solihull plant currently employs 6,000 people producing the Range Rover Discovery and Defender models.
“To put things into perspective, JLR employs 8,000 staff across the business. UK is central to our design and assembly operations. So in that context, I would say that the UK is not producing enough engineering graduates as we’d like,” Gregor added.
JLR recently announced the creation of 800 additional jobs at its plant in Solihull, West Midlands on the back of record sales. The carmaker posted a sales rise of 30 percent on an annualised basis for 2012.
JLR’s sales in China rose 70 percent to 71,940 units, overtaking the UK to become its biggest market. Sales in the UK rose 19 percent to 68,333 and in the US by 11 percent to 55,675. In line with market expectations, the new Range Rover Evoque model topped overall sales with over 100,000 units moved in its first year.
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