Currently reading: Inside the industry: Can Bollore really Reimagine JLR?
Thierry's first public outing as Jaguar Land Rover CEO was exciting but still leaves questions unanswered
Jim Holder
News
3 mins read
1 March 2021

So large was the recent explosion of news detonated by Jaguar Land Rover that the boom is still resonating. While lots was revealed in Thierry Bolloré’s first public outing as JLR CEO, here are some of the questions that we feel still need answers.

Why cancel the new Jaguar XJ, nigh-on complete at an estimated investment cost of at least £300 million, when it was set to be exactly the type of car that Jaguar will sell from 2025? Bolloré claimed “the XJ replacement was not fitting with that new positioning,” which is odd, given that it looked like the perfect car for leading the firm to where it wants to go.

Why does Bolloré feel the need to put Jaguar and Land Rover cars onto individual platforms? He claimed that this is to give each brand distinct characteristics, but other car makers are happy achieving that using the same basic architecture. What makes this potentially hugely expensive separation necessary? Already rumours suggest it might be one way of disentangling the brands in case the opportunity to sell Jaguar – perhaps to an emergent Chinese company – comes up.

Does Jaguar even have the time or finances to develop its own platform by 2025? As Bolloré hinted, the work can’t even begin until JLR design chief Gerry McGovern and the Jaguar team led by Julian Thomson have set the proportions they want the entire future line-up to work to. That’s a lot to do in just five years. Could it be that a joint venture with another car maker is on the cards or that a platform could be bought from a third-party supplier, such as Magna Steyr?

What kind of new cars will Jaguar make? Bolloré suggested Land Rover will be JLR’s SUV brand (and the rumours of a Jaguar J-Pace seven-seater have already been culled as a result), while saloon and estate sales are rapidly diminishing. So where is left for this new-look Jaguar to turn?

Does Jaguar have the marketing prowess and resources to transition from a premium brand to a luxury brand, as has been targeted? It’s all very well hinting at Aston Martin- and Bentleyesque qualities and price points, but surely that’s a stretch of reality? Maybe the mid-ground – exemplified perhaps by Maserati – is more realistic, albeit low on successful case studies to draw inspiration from. Why can Jaguar succeed in this space when others haven’t?

Can Jaguar actually make it to 2025? Last year’s sales were dire: 37% down year on year to 102,494 (BMW sold more 3 Series alone). Now retailers are presumably left to shift updated but ageing products that their creators have declared not fit for purpose from 2025. That’s four to five years of hard graft for them, followed by the prospect of reinvesting (again) in a completely fresh start. It’s a huge ask to persuade them to buy into that vision, given the historically low returns.

READ MORE

Ex-Renault boss Thierry Bollore named as new JLR CEO 

Dear Thierry: Our advice for Jaguar Land Rover's new CEO 

What to expect from the pragmatic new JLR boss

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Aidan 1 March 2021

Incredibly disappointing that the XJ has been cancelled,especially when the development was almost completed ???,can't believe JLR would waste hundreds of millions and cancel the project just before the planned reveal,they are obviously keeping the real reason a secret which will inevitably be leaked out.There are more questions than answers when you scrap your own EV platform after years of work only to reach out to other car makers to share the production.It was all so positive when the I-Pace was launched 3 years ago beating the vast resources of the big 3 Germans and winning countless awards including World car of the year and then Jag only managed a few software updates and improved info screen in all that time as the competition has now completely swamped the market with new electric vehicles,sadly that proactive opportunity to lead from the front is unlikely to happen again.

gussy51 1 March 2021
Was the new XJ too heavy and dynamically compromised, with too high a seating position though? I recall reading that the F Type was designed to take a kerb strike of the same force as a Land Rover product - you just wonder if Mr Bollore has realised that developing Jaguar's off Land Rover components sets is going to lead to more money wasted on "nearly" cars that will sell in pitiful numbers as a result of weight and engineering hard points leading to compromised design, efficiency and dynamics. Also where would they build the XJ if launched? Given Castle Bromwich isn't going to be refitted, is there currently room at Solihull until Velar production moves to Merseyside for the next generation (as rumoured) and the F Pace is pensioned off. Also electric car sales will increase as the decade continues but those first to market might have to suck up losses for the first few years. Also many JLR dealerships are geared to both brands so cars like the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport will keep them plenty busy. I'm gutted the XJ isn't being launched this year, but I'm pretty sure it was the right call. Whether they can get the Jaguar relaunch right is another story, but if they pitch it just right I think they could have a chance
BertoniBertone 1 March 2021

Too many models, too few sales. It's the 'numbers' that count. Jag can only survive (not alone prosper) as a road-biased LR and should be badge-engineered accordingly. Separate platforms from LR ? I'm not sure what that means. 

What is clear is that Jag can only exist as a 'badge'. Nothing wrong with that if it can efficiently add 100+ k sales to LR. Or you flog it off....assuming it's not already been flogged-off and Bollore is grooming it to that end ? 

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