* No new global plants until China factory online-CEO
* JLR exploring possibility of manufacturing in India
* To tap Turkey, other markets for future growth
* Expanding India assembly operations being mulled
By Henry Foy
GENEVA, March 5 (Reuters) - Jaguar Land Rover
will not expand its overseas production capacity until its new
China factory comes online, its CEO said on Tuesday, and will
target growing demand in markets such as Turkey to continue
round-the-clock manufacturing in the UK.
JLR has ridden a huge boom in emerging market demand to post
record profits in recent quarters, and is building its first
overseas factory in China, its largest market, while exploring
other opportunities in Saudi Arabia and India.
"Our first priority is China," Chief Executive Ralf Speth
told Reuters in an interview at the Geneva Motor Show. "And then
we can do one of the other steps."
"We have to do it in a certain sequence. Starting a plant is
not just about higher volumes," Speth added. "Decisions can be
made, but there's a certain timescale we have."
JLR is actively exploring the potential of starting
full-scale production in India, the home of its parent Tata
Motors, sources told Reuters last week.
An increased presence in India would be an important part of
the UK carmaker's growth plans, Speth said, declining to comment
on the possibility of full production there.
JLR assembles two of its vehicles in India using parts
manufactured in Britain.
"India will give us huge opportunities," he said. "We have
to think how maybe we can increase our assembly there."
Amid a prolonged slowdown in Europe's car market, JLR has
bucked the industry trend, running its plants on 24-hour shifts
and increasing investment and headcounts.
Targeting growth in untapped markets with strong economic
growth would ensure production remained at peak levels in the UK
after the Chinese plant, which will only build cars for that
market, begins production.
Speth declined to give details of when the Chinese plant,
which is being built with local partner Chery Automobile
, would start production.
"There are areas which really can grow. Turkey, Eastern
Europe, for example, we can leverage," Speth said. "Therefore,
we have a huge network development to fuel this volume."