Jaguar Land Rover has announced it is to invest $2.35 billion (£1.5bn) on designing new lightweight, energy efficient models, creating 1,700 new jobs in the process.
The company today confirmed plans to extend its manufacturing facility in Solihull in order to produce a series of models for both brands, starting with a new mid-sized sports sedan from Jaguar, set to be launched in 2015.
Jaguar Land Rover said the investment will introduce new technically-advanced aluminium vehicle architecture -- the part of the car on which the bodywork, seats and engine sit -- that should make its cars significantly lighter.
The design is intended to be flexible enough to be used as a base for both Jaguar and Land Rover models and the company intends to "significantly increase spend" with its supply base to capitalise on its potential.
The new models will also be powered by new fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines to be built at the company's new $784 million (£500m) Engine Manufacturing Center, which should come into operation in 2015. The new engines will help bring to market Jaguar models with top speeds in excess of 186mph (300km/h) that for the first time also boast emissions under 100 grams of CO2 per kilometer.
Jaguar Land Rover this week unveiled its first-ever sports crossover concept vehicle, the C-X17, at the Frankfurt Motor Show as a design study to introduce the new system.
Speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover's chief executive, said the company was aiming to "push the boundaries and redefine premium car ownership".
"Jaguar Land Rover is a business driven by design, technology and innovation and this investment and level of job creation is yet further evidence of our commitment to advancing the capability of the U.K. automotive sector and its supply chain," he added.
U.K. Business Secretary Vince Cable described the new announcement as a "groundbreaking" development for the U.K. auto industry.
"This all-aluminium architecture project typifies the type of innovative and high value R&D that the U.K. excels in and government is supporting through the automotive industrial strategy," he added.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the investment was a "huge vote of confidence in the U.K.," adding that it will deliver another 24,000 supply chain jobs, on top of the 1.3 million jobs the sector has created since 2010.
This article originally appeared at Business Green.