Currently reading: Inside the industry: JLR chief Bolloré must strike a fine balance in rebooting Jaguar
It's not going to be easy steadying the ship, and some decisions will surely irk staff
Jim Holder
News
2 mins read
5 July 2021

Exciting, isn't it, to get the first clues on the reinvention of Jaguar from CEO Thierry Bolloré?

The promise of a unique brand positioning, a Range Rover-esque luxury philosophy and the internal design competition that achieved in three months what normally takes 18 all whet the appetite for what’s to come by 2025.

But as Bolloré builds excitement, he treads a fine line. While it’s admirable that he’s open in explaining why Jaguar has to change, he also has to keep in mind his network of heavily invested retailers, who need customers between now and then, and the motivation of his workforce, many of whom worked on the products he’s replacing.

Maybe he’s concluded that Land Rover’s success is enough to keep his retailers on the hook. But if I’d invested tens of million in a flagship Jaguar Land Rover store in recent years, I’d be wincing on hearing that one half of the equation was “damaged” and that its “me too” products are doomed to be almost everyone’s second choice behind Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

Bolloré’s comments hardly rank on the scale of being a Gerald Ratner moment – or, to pick a parallel closer to home, the much purported if not confirmed arrival of a self-styled multimillionaire eco warrior at the heart of the electric car revolution to a conference at the wheel of a diesel SUV – but there’s no question they will put potential buyers off. After all, who wants to own something from a brand whose boss doesn’t even believe in the product?

Carrying a car brand for four years is going to be expensive – for everyone in the chain. Meanwhile, morale among teams working on the present for Jaguar is said to be – at best – bouncing around.

While I can only report anonymous commentary and therefore highlight its frailty as a source, word is that the cancellation of the electric XJ project was just the latest kick in the shins for many, morale already having taken a hit as thousands grasped redundancy as part of wider cost-cutting measures.

Now, as far as Jaguar is concerned, much development work is in hiatus, focused on model- year updates pending a platform strategy, and sales and marketing plans focused on how to shift cars in the least costly manner.

But there is at least hope in Bolloré’s leadership. Hitting the reset button is the hardest part, and the journey between that moment and potential redemption is always going to be a rocky road.

Sometimes it takes a near-death experience to emerge stronger – and, for now, at least there’s something to fight for.

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TStag 5 July 2021
Less words more action. I still think scrapping the successful F Pace is a stupid idea. Top stupid idea from any car executive. Jaguars line up should be:
-F Pace to take on Porsche Macan
-J Pace to take on Porsche Cayanne
-F Type to take on Porsche Boxter
-J Type to take on Porsche 911
-XJ to take on Porsche Panamera

All of which should be personally designed by Gerry McGovern, with excitement at the heart of the design ideals.

Instead Bollore is talking about taking on Bentley. This is NUTS.

LucyP 5 July 2021

This article makes the dealers sound as if they are one-man-bands and stupid. Just about all of them are the mult-nationals, because who else can afford to spend/take on a debt of millions to build the required palatial showroom.

They know that the cars do not sell as well as the competition, because they can see the figures from their Audi, BMW, Merc showrooms.

They know that people would rather buy from the competition, because they hear it every day from customers, who come along to test drive and then buy something else.

They also write adverts for 21 plate XF's that say in capitals "Huge savings vs New RRP" whereas their counterparts selling Audis, BMWs and Mercs don't.

Maybe Bollore doesn't have all the answers, but the new XJ must have been terrible, even compared with what he was used to, because he has clearly convinced Tata to dump it, after spending £millions on it's development. Dealers will have worked that out, if not told the truth.

He is also right about quality problems. Dealers know about those too.

I think dealers will see Bollore as a positive step.

Hughbl 5 July 2021

It does seem strange that he is so communicative about the problems - fine to talk about this during his interview, but you don't need everyone to know how clever you are for spotting the problem (while sales decline further).

Fewer words, more action please Mr Bollore.