The new owners of Jaguar & Land Rover will take control of a business that’s turned its balance sheet around by one billion dollars in the last twelve months, according to word on the Detroit show floor.Land Rover is understood to have made a profit of around $1.2b in 2007 while Jaguar reduced its losses to around $100m thanks to cost-cutting and concentrating on fewer, more profitable sales.The numbers are a big improvement over 2006, when the businesses combined lost $500m.According to Jag boss Geoff Polites: "Our financial position is much, much better than many people think."The turnaround means that the new owners of JLR, most likely to be Tata Motors of India, will shortly take control of a business that’s turned the corner, for a sum of around $3b.It also makes the future of a Tata Motors-owned Jaguar and Land Rover more secure, by giving the Indian company a sold financial base to make the heavy investments needed to keep the product line filled-up.
In the short term product plan: Jaguar XJ, Range Rover
Making heavy demands from Tata for cash investment in the short term will be the next Jaguar XJ (codenamed project X351), and new Range Rover.Land Rover engineers are understood to be re-thinking the architectural structure of the new Range Rover, which had been planned to switch to all aluminium construction. Weight savings of up to 40 per cent in the body-in-white were expected to transfer into a 200kg saving in the current steel-bodied car’s kerb weight of 2600kg.Cost considerations are now understood to be forcing engineers to look at a hybrid steel/alloy architecture. However, because new hybrid powertrains are in development, Land Rover believes it can hit CO2 and fuel economy savings regardless, without making such big breakthroughs in kerb weight savings.