Jaguar Land Rover to continue AJ V8 production in-house

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will take over production of the ‘AJ’ supercharged petrol V8 in Wolverhampton after Ford shuts its Bridgend plant next month, Autocar can confirm.

The future of the engine – which is used in everything from the Jaguar F-Type to the Range Rover (and set to be used in the new Land Rover Defender) – had been uncertain since last summer, when Ford announced the closure of the facility where it has been built since 1996.

It has now emerged that JLR will transfer the production equipment, and possibly some of the workforce, from Wales to the West Midlands in a ‘lift and shift’ operation.

A statement from the firm read: “Manufacture of the JLR-designed V8 petrol engines previously made at Bridgend will move to the JLR Engine Manufacturing Centre, with further detail to be confirmed at a later date.”

Ford says production at Bridgend is now focused on work for “third parties” (JLR), with assembly of the Ford Sigma and Dragon engines already having been wound down. Bridgend is understood to have been building the AJ at a higher rate than required in order to build up buffer supplies while the production line is moved.

Sources suggest the AJ, now in its third generation, will continue in production for three to five years. The timing is likely to coincide with the introduction of EU7, an inevitably more stringent next step of European Union emissions regulations.

At that point, JLR is expected to adopt BMW’s V8 as part of a wide-reaching powertrain deal, as demand for this engine type dwindles in Europe but stays buoyant in the US and the Middle East.

Strong demand for the current V8 in those markets is a key motivator for JLR taking over its production and continuing to build it.

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