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Expansion for JLR's SVO. Image by Jaguar Land Rover.

Expansion for JLR's SVO
Faster, more luxurious and exclusive Jaguars and Land Rovers via massive investment in its Midlands base.
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What's SVO?

Jaguar Land Rover's (JLR as we're doing acronyms), Special Vehicle Operations division, which is JLR's equivalent to the likes of Merc's AMG and BMW's M, with a bit of Mulliner from Bentley chucked in for good measure. So there's a range of go-faster models under the SVR badge (R for Racing apparently) across both brands, some more luxury via SVAutobiography on Range Rovers and, in time, there'll be SVX, which promises to be, in John Edwards, JLR Special Operations Managing Director's words, "something between a Paris-Dakar and Camel Trophy vehicle". So a serious, high performance off-roader, then. Oh, and not forgetting the classics, which will be built in a dedicated facility next door to SVO's spanking new Technical Centre in Coventry, the combined investment in both a little shy of £30 million.

That's a big investment in a lot of letters...

It sure is, and while the naming strategy and branding's a bit all over the place (certainly not as unambiguous as AMG for example), it does straddle two brands and encompasses a lot of different areas for personalisation, performance and restoration. The most prominent SVO model so far has been the F-Type Project 7, a limited run special of Jaguar's roadster. The Range Rover Sport SVR and F-Type SVR that followed it are more demonstrative of SVO's standard production output. For the Classic division there's the lightweight E-Types and XKSS 'continuation' models, as well as Land Rover's fully restored 'Reborn' Series 1. There'll be more projects like that, as well as investment in Classic parts supply. The Classic department is not looking to necessarily out-do the already vast specialist marketplace out there for restoration and repairs, but complement and, indeed, support it.

All under one roof?

The investment has been in a number of areas, which brings JLR's SVO division into a main centre in Coventry, building the majority of SVO cars and featuring a state-of-the-art paint shop and customer specification suite. The classics are dealt with over the road in their own centre (and a further two buildings in Brown's Lane, Coventry and Solihull, Birmingham). The two new Coventry facilities have been built like those by an F1 team; the individual bays have more in common with a surgery than a traditional production facility. It's hugely flexible, too, which means it should be able to adapt and grow when it needs to.

And jobs?

The news is good for the local area; SVO has 1,000 dedicated staff presently, which is due to grow by 250 in the next year. As word gets out and volume grows that's only likely to increase even further. With the luxury, high performance and classic marketplace globally now defined by customers wanting the very best and demanding massive personalisation, JLR's investment in its SVO division is timely, and certainly significant.

Kyle Fortune - 5 Jul 2016

Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations. Image by Jaguar Land Rover.Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations. Image by Jaguar Land Rover.      - Jaguar road tests
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