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French Version

Land Rover launches ‘made in Jordan’ vehicles

JORDANIANS ARE about to witness an unusual phenomenon on their streets. Land Rover vehicles marked with “Made In Jordan”

JORDANIANS ARE about to witness an unusual phenomenon on their streets. Land Rover vehicles marked with “Made In Jordan” will be on Jordanian roads as early as 2003. Thanks to Land Rover’s mother company, Land Rover is determined to turn the country into a regional crux for its operations.

The UK-based company in agreement with Olé Jordan Co. (OJC), set up a project to build a production facility for Land Rover vehicles in the south of the Kingdom. The $70-million project is expected to kick-off production in early 2003, with an annual capacity of 10,000 vehicles. The construction of the factory and its facilities will take 18 months to complete. Located on 700 dunums near Ma’an, the factory is the first of its kind in the Middle East to manufacture Land Rover vehicles. It took two years for Olé Jordan to make the concept a reality. “The project was made possible through intensive efforts and preparations between the government, and Land Rover via Olé Jordan,” said Fahed Ghanim, OJC’s marketing manager. An agreement was reached between Land Rover and OJC last year to establish the factory in Jordan. “We managed to take advantage of the strategic position of Jordan and make the project a perfect one for economic and social development,” he told The Star. Excavations and unearthing operations for the project started last week, Ghanim predicts the factory will begin operation by November 2002. With more than 50 years of constant technological innovation, Land Rover continues to serve in many capacities on a worldwide basis, with models that have truly earned the title of “The World’s Most Versatile Vehicle”. Phase One of the project is to assemble and produce Defender vehicles. Being the hardest working vehicle worldwide, the Defender is famous among specific users, including the defense forces, rescue services and heavy-duty industries. The factory in Ma’an is scheduled to produce the modern models of Land Rover vehicles, starting with the new 5-cylinder diesel engine Defender, called Td5. Ghanim said Defender models provide more power and create enthusiasm and eagerness among their drivers. “No other 4X4 vehicles can match the technical and physical strength that the Defender has,” he noted. “Thus, the vehicle is very popular among the defense and security forces around the world because of its capability in extreme environments.” Ghanim elaborated all Land Rover vehicles use state-of-the-art technology and incorporate environmentally-friendly operation that will only target cost-efficiency, quality and strong performance. Asked about the reason behind choosing Ma’an, Ghanim said the area is targeted by the government to attract more investments, both local and foreign, to accelerate the social and economic development among its inhabitants. “The project is part of the government’s plan to develop the southern region of the Kingdom,” said Ghanim, who added the venture aims to mobilize all qualified human resources and target young professionals, who failed to obtain jobs elsewhere. A special college will be established, more like a polytechnic, to educate and train Jordanian personnel on the basics and principles of manufacturing and assembling vehicles. The factory will provide 500 jobs for Jordanians, including 100 experts and professionals in car manufacturing. “The college will help qualified Jordanians to come and take part in a more efficient and proficient manner. This will eventually mean the embarkation on a sustainable development in Jordan’s human resources, mainly car maintenance and manufacturing.” Olé Jordan Co. is making significant strides also as it has been a BMW Group importer in Jordan for about 25 years. The German car manufacturer was part of the Land Rover project last year, but recently they severed their partnership with Land Rover.

“All vehicles will conform with all standards applied in Europe and the US in manufacturing cars,” said Ghanim, who revealed the factory will launch its second phase in two or three years after its inauguration. The factory will also take advantage of the enriched raw materials in Jordanian soil, including silica gel. This will incorporate complementary industries; in addition to the production of other Land Rover vehicles, such as Freelander and Discovery models, the factory will also produce spare parts and manufacture glass.

Ghassan Joha
The Star

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