LONDON -- Jaguar Land Rover is moving all production of its Land Rover Discovery to Slovakia from its Solihull plant near Birmingham, the automaker said.
"The decision to move the Land Rover Discovery to Slovakia and the potential losses of some agency employed staff in the U.K. is a tough one but forms part of our long-term manufacturing strategy as we transform our business globally," JLR said.
The UK plant will be retooled to accommodate a new generation of electric cars, people familiar with the matter said.
The company will enable the production of electric, gasoline and diesel vehicles in Solihull, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn't public.
Discovery production will be moved from the beginning of 2019, the people said.
The company said in 2016 that it would build Discovery SUVs in Slovakia once a new plant there came on line, while saying some of the production of the model -- which was redesigned in 2017 -- would remain in the U.K. JLR also builds the SUV in Changshu, China.
JLR has an agreement with contract manufacturer Magna Steyr to build the Jaguar E-Pace and all-electric I-Pace, it's first full-electric car, in Austria.
The U.K. investment, totaling hundreds of millions of pounds, according to the people, could cut both ways. While some agency-employed plant workers may lose their jobs, the decision to build EVs at Solihull marks a major commitment to UK manufacturing amid uncertainty over Brexit.
After its makeover, the plant will produce the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models. The manufacturer will build the next of its Range Rover Evoque models at a site in Halewood in northern England, where the Discovery Sport is also made.
"This significant investment and technology upgrade in Solihull in order to accommodate our next-generation of flagship Land Rover models, and the refit of our Halewood plant for the next Evoque, is proof that we remain committed both to the UK and to transformation and growth," Jaguar Land Rover said by email.
Jaguar Land Rover has said all new models will be electrified from 2020, though a spokesman wouldn't confirm whether the Range Rover models to be produced at Solihull will be made in full-electric versions. Both SUVs are currently made in plug-in hybrid versions.