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The Jaguar XE has been granted the honour of being the firm’s first model to be assembled in China, Automotive News Europe understands. Along with the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport, the new BMW 3 Series fighter will be assembled at Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) new plant in Changshu.

With that said, there is still no word on when production is set to begin, as stated by JLR global fleet director, Ken Forbes. The Changshu plant – a joint operation with China’s Chery Automobile – has already begun production of the Evoque in October this year.

By 2016, Jaguar plans to introduce at least three all-new or majorly revised models in China as part of its aggressive expansion plan. Company officials are expecting the new XE to lead the move by contributing to the projected 2017 sales target of 200,000 units worldwide.

“Our spearhead vehicle for China is the XE and we think it could make significant inroads – it’s inevitable that’s going to be case,” comments JLR sales operations director, Andy Goss. Parent company, Tata Motors, is aiming for a total combined sales figure of 850,000 by 2020.

The Changshu plant is expected to reach its 130,000-unit capacity by 2016, according to Jaguar. Come next year, the company is planning to establish an engine plant which would result in China becoming the first nation to fully assemble the XE outside of the United Kingdom.

GALLERY: Jaguar XE