New Land Rover to be built in India?

* Sources say switch is likely * Land Rover to make decision in September * Government grants dependent on UK production...

New Land Rover to be built in India?

Land Rover could be planning to shift production of the forthcoming LRX away from the UK.

There is speculation that the company's owner, Tata, wants to switch production of the new fuel-efficient LRX to India.

Tata has yet to accept 27 million in Government grants and loans that are dependent on the LRX being made at the company's Halewood factory in Merseyside - further fuelling speculation that it will be built in India.

A Land Rover spokesman said: 'The decision [on where to build the LRX] will be made later this year, probably in September. The process has been extraordinarily quick: these decisions can take three years but this decision could be made in two.

'We wouldn't comment on speculation, but Tata did say last month that it had no plans to move production out of the UK.'

Meanwhile, a Government minister told Liverpool's Daily Post newspaper that the situation was 'very serious'.

Phil Woolas, Minister for the North West said: 'The truth is that we don't know at this point what the company's plans are.

We need clarity around the business plan. We need it as soon as possible, and by that I mean days.'

Another blow to Halewood came earlier this week when it was confirmed that the Jaguar X-type will no longer be made at the Merseyside factory. The Freelander is also made at Halewood and the new LRX is based on the same platform, so it was widely expected that the new vehicle would be made at the same place.

The LRX was first revealed at the Detroit motor show in 2007 and is expected to be one of the greenest SUVs on the market. Land Rover says it's aiming for CO2 emissions of less than 150g/km for all models, but a hybrid version that will achieve more than 60mpg and emit less than 120g/km of CO2 is also being developed.