Jaguar-Land Rover has launched a Special Operations division to focus on the design and engineering of high-specification halo vehicles, bespoke cars and heritage products.
The new business division will produce special cars along the lines of the F-type Project 7, first seen at Goodwood last year, and the recently announced run of lightweight E-type recreations.
Jaguar-Land Rover Special Operations will work out of a new technical centre that is being established in the West Midlands, close to JLR's current Gaydon base.
The new division will have four key aims. Most significantly, it will produce high-specification vehicles that showcase "the best of both brands, including high-performance derivatives, ultra luxury products and limited-run collector editions".
It will also create truly bespoke commissions and an extended choice of colour and trim specifications and accessories. Furthermore, it will work on heritage products including vehicle recreations, servicing and restorations, and also create and supply heritage vehicle parts to customers.
As well as vehicles, Special Operations will produce a range of branded goods to engage with a wide audience of current and potential customers.
JLR Special Operations will be led by John Edwards, formerly brand ambassador for Land Rover, who said: "We've been working on this for nine months. It's an area we didn't really engage with before. As a business, we are completely focused on enhancing and personalising the relationship our most discerning and enthusiastic customers have with our brands. By creating a Special Operations division we can harness the very best talent and expertise Jaguar Land Rover has – to deliver exceptional products and services our customers will love for life."
A team of 150 Jaguar-Land Rover specialists will be based at the new technical centre. Its facilities will feature a customer commissioning suite for bespoke services and premium vehicle personalisation, flexible workshops – inspired by Formula 1 racing team facilities – and a fully automated paint facility.
The Special Operations team of designers and engineers will be led by Paul Newsome, director of special vehicle operations, recently recruited from Williams Advanced Engineering. Newsome was project chief of the Jaguar C-X75 supercar concept produced in conjunction with Williams. The team will create halo vehicles ranging from high luxury to extreme performance.
In addition, a new heritage vehicle workshop will be created at the spiritual home of Jaguar in Browns Lane, Coventry.
This will also be the production site for the six recently announced lightweight E-type recreations and will allow the newly formed heritage team to expand its servicing and restoration services.
Jaguar-Land Rover chief executive, Ralf Speth, said: "The creation of Jaguar-Land Rover Special Operations demonstrates our continued commitment to placing customers at the heart of everything we do. This investment in exciting and desirable products will reinforce the global reputation of both Jaguar and Land Rover brands."
About 700 people will be employed across the four parts of the new business, which supersedes the work of the Engineered To Order (ETO) division.