Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata has said Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is examining the possibility of setting up an assembly plant in the Kingdom to benefit from the upcoming multi-billion-riyal integrated aluminum complex in the country, according to media reports. With JLR going for more aluminum content in its products, Tata said the company could benefit in the long term from "very competitive" aluminum from the project.
Maaden, in a joint venture with Alcoa, is undertaking a $ 10.8 billion project to set up what has been dubbed as the the world's largest vertically integrated aluminum complex.
The smelter and rolling mill located at Ras Al-Khair is expected to start operations next year while the alumina refinery is slated to be operational by 2014.
"This smelter could make the production of aluminum in Saudi Arabia very competitive," Tata was quoted as saying in an interview with Autocar India magazine.
"So taking a really long-term view, if we put an assembly plant there with a large press shop, given our commitment to aluminum in our products, we could have an interesting business case which we are examining today," he added in the report.
Earlier this year, JLR had announced an investment of 3.5 billion yuan in its joint venture with Chery Automobile in China to commence local assembly there.
The plant is envisaged to have an initial production capacity of 50,000 units per annum.
Tata, who will retire and step down as chairman of Tata Motors in December, also said the company was considering building the new Land Rover Defender in India "for various markets" as well as manufacturing some component assemblies to supply to the new Defender production line in the UK.
Tata also criticized the "relative lack of passion" within his company for the passenger car market.