Sheds vie for Evoque supply depot

The former Ethel Austin headquarters in Knowsley and Highcross's Phoenix in Ellesmere Port are the frontrunners for a 400,000 sq ft motor parts distribution centre for Jaguar Land Rover.

JLR is enjoying soaring sales for its Range Rover Evoque model and is increasing production to keep pace with demand.

Range Rover EvoqueAn additional warehouse is needed in the proximity of the Halewood car plant in Knowsley to supply parts for the just-in-time assembly process, which holds only a small inventory in the factory itself.

Highcross's Phoenix is around 405,000 sq ft and located next to the Vauxhall Motors factory across the Mersey in Ellesmere Port. The building was used to hold parts for Vauxhall until storage was moved inside the plant. Agents on Phoenix are CBRE, Jones Lang LaSalle and Legat Owen.

The 426,000 sq ft former Ethel Austin facility in Knowsley is owned by a private investor, following its sale by Ethel Austin Property Holdings. Mason Owen and CBRE are marketing the industrial unit with 14 acres of development land.

The Evoque went on sale in September 2011 and has already become Land Rover's best-selling vehicle. The model has sold out for the remainder of 2012, prompting JLR to increase production.

In March, JLR announced the creation of 1,000 new jobs at its Halewood facility to support the significant demand for the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Freelander 2. The extra positions will take the workforce at Halewood to almost 4,500, which is treble the number employed there three years ago.

Des Thurlby, Jaguar Land Rover HR director, said in March: "We are moving Halewood to three shifts and 24-hour operation to meet increased global demand for our products.
"JLR's supply chain is also set to benefit, with thousands more jobs expected to be created. Our commitment to expand the Halewood workforce and increase production is great news for JLR, for Merseyside and for the wider UK economy."

All parties declined to comment until a deal was done.

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