Jaguar Land Rover Becomes Britain's Biggest Automaker For First Time

Jan 21, 2016 03:15 PM EST | John Nassivera

Jaguar Land Rover has achieved a first in its history by becoming the largest automaker in Britain.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders announced the achievement, revealing that JLR had its best year in a decade in 2015, in which it produced over 1.5 million vehicles, according to ITV News.

Over 500,000 were made at the company's manufacturing plants, which are located in Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood. Last year also saw the automaker introduce 11 new cars to the market, which included the Jaguar XE and XF and the Land Rover Discovery Sport, as well as sell a record 100,000-plus registered vehicles for the first time.

JLR produced a total of 489,923 cars last year, marking a nine-percent year-by-year increase, The Guardian reported.

The accomplishment comes seven years after JLR almost collapsed during the financial crisis, producing only 158,000 cars. Tata, the Indian owner of the company, has since brought the luxury carmaker back to life by investing over £11 billion into research and development.

JLR has managed to create over 10,000 manufacturing jobs at its factories over the last five years, ITV News noted. The company currently has 35,000 employees in the U.K. twice the amount it had in the country five years ago.

Chancellor George Osborne of the British Conservative Party praised JLR's achievement, saying that it is a sign of balance for the U.K. economy, according to The Guardian.

"I am hugely encourage that manufacturing is at a 10-year high and exports are at a record level. All this means jobs and the security of a pay packet for workers and their families," Osborne said.

"Our plans to rebalance the economy mean we have to continue to build on our great manufacturing strengths in the Midlands and the north of England, and work together to ensure that Britain continues to prosper as a global leader in car production."

This also puts JLR ahead of Nissan, which had been the largest automaker in Britain since 1999. The Japanese car maker produce 476,589 vehicles in 2015, a 4.7 percent decline from the previously year, but it still has the biggest factory in the country, which is located in Sunderland and will be 30 years old this year.

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