By Daniel Hunter

Jaguar Land Rover are set to create 800 new production jobs at their Solihull plant in the West Midlands.

At present the Solihull plant, which produces the Range Rover Discovery and Defender models, already employs 6,000 staff.

The news of the new positions comes as the firm announced record sales of almost 358,000 cars in 2012, up 30% from the year before.

The carmaker, which is owned by Tata of India, said vehicle sales in China rose 70% to 71,940, overtaking the UK to become its biggest market.

Sales in the UK rose 19% to 68,333 and in the US by 11% to 55,675. The company said it was active in 177 countries in the year.

The company's new Range Rover Evoque model came top, with over 100,000 sales in its first year. Sales of its Jaguar models rose just 6%.

The government welcomed news of the jobs in Solihull. Last week Japanese carmaker Honda said it would cut 800 jobs at its Swindon production plant.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the new jobs were a "welcome boost" for the UK automotive industry.

"The company's investment of £2bn this year and 8,000 new jobs over the last two years shows how JLR goes from strength to strength," he said.

"With support from the government's regional growth fund, it's a clear demonstration of where the government working in partnership with the private sector can make a real difference to the UK economy."

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