First, some context: Jaguar Land Rover is not alone in facing a crisis, although the fact is the UK’s biggest car maker may add some shock for homegrown readers. In the coming days, weeks and months we anticipate other giants of the industry, including the mighty GM and Ford, to formally reveal plans of their own, on a far greater scale, in the face of their own challenges.
However, there’s no escaping the fact that, for Jaguar especially - given Land Rover's greater sales, standing and profitability - the cuts are a bitter blow, albeit the result of a strategy based on unfulfilled ambition that now looks to have relied too much on a virtuous circle of sales success, undone by circumstance and falling short.
Valid excuses aren’t hard to pick out - you don’t win by being cautious - but the cruel reality is that the likes of Volvo have risen, phoenix-like from near-doom, in the same market sector and with similar raw materials at their disposal, while upstart brands such as Tesla have leap-frogged the pecking order by being more ambitious still.
As you’ll read elsewhere, Jaguar’s model portfolio is on the ropes, in some cases potentially awaiting a hammer blow.
In sales terms the saloon portfolio is a disaster zone: the XE is a relative flop, the XF struggling and the Analysts believe that a plan to reinvent XJ barely has a pulse. No matter that each is a very fine car, comparable (and more) in our road testers’ eyes with the best; sales are sales.
The F-Type sports car is as beautiful a car as there is on the road - and in those terms it serves its role as a halo model - but its sales figures cannot justify the investment.
Meanwhile, the E-Pace and F-Pace SUVs provide some cheer, but what’s apparent from the drop in sales of the latter is that many buyers are simply opting now to purchase the former. Cannibalising your own customers (not to say those of the Land Rover Discovery Sport) cannot make great business sense, especially if they are buying the smaller, cheaper model.