Jaguar Land Rover is trying to muscle the British government for cash. Or rather, the brand’s parent company, Tata, is. In a move that’s straight out of the criminal underworld, the Telegraph reports that Tata wants half a billion pounds from the U.K. government to build an EV factory in Jaguar and Land Rover’s home country. If the British government doesn’t pay, Tata will build the factory somewhere else.
Like just about every other automaker, Jaguar Land Rover plans to pivot to electric vehicles, and needs a new facility to build them. Parent company Tata has selected a location in Somerset, in southwest England, to build a gigafactory. But rather than dig in its own deep pockets — Tata reported $128 billion in revenue in the 2021-2022 fiscal year — the international conglomerate wants the U.K. government to write the check for the factory, to the tune of 500 million pounds, or just over $600 million at current exchange rates.
What’s worse, Tata is threatening to take its gigafactory to Spain if the U.K. government doesn’t play ball. A report from the Financial Times says Tata has given the government a few weeks to answer before it pulls the plug on the deal.
The sad part is, U.K. might bow to Tata’s whims. After years of struggling to revive the domestic auto industry, British officials might be a little desperate to get the ball rolling. In an opinion piece for the Telegraph, Ben Marlow argues that Britain must pull out all the stops to get investment in building EVs in the country — including bending to Tata’s demands and trying to woo Elon Musk to build a British Tesla facility. Industry observers believe Tata passing on the Somerset factory would make the U.K. seem like a bad place to invest on electric vehicle manufacturing.