JAGUAR Land Rover has started construction of its new manufacturing facory in Slovakia.
The ground breaking ceremony was attended by Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico and Andy Garth, the UK Ambassador.
The new 300,000 square metre factory will be at the forefront of aluminium manufacturing and engineering and will build a range of all-new aluminium Jaguar Land Rover vehicles, supporting the company's on-going commitment to deliver high-tech lightweight cars.
The £1 billion plant at Nitra, a city in western Slovakia close to the Austrian and Hungarian borders, will have an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles and the first cars are expected to come off the production line in late 2018.
Since Jaguar Land Rover confirmed its plans in Slovakia, more than 40,000 people have registered their interest in working at the new plant.
When fully operational, the plant will employ 2,800 people and wide scale recruitment will start towards the end of 2017.
Dr Ralf Speth, JLR's chief executive, said: "The start of construction in Slovakia today represents the beginning of a new phase in our plan to create a truly global business. The factory will strengthen our international manufacturing capabilities as well as complement our existing facilities in the UK, China, India and Brazil."
Jaguar Land Rover says it will work with local organisations to create new education programmes to inspire the next generation of automotive engineers by bringing the world of work to life as well as increasing awareness of the range of careers available to young people.
In addition, it will introduce programmes to offer work experience, training and employability qualifications for people who are unemployed to prepare them for roles in the automotive industry.
Jaguar Land Rover confirmed plans for its first overseas manufacturing plant in 2012 when it signed a joint venture agreement with Chery Automobile Company Ltd in China.
Since then, it has started production of the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery and the Jaguar XFL in China, opened its plant in Brazil, agreed a new contract manufacturing partnership with Magna Steyr in Austria and introduced three new vehicles to its local assembly facility in India.