Land Rover’s road to the end as Jaguar continues its change

Jaguar Land Rover will drop its 75-year-old Land Rover brand as part of a revamp of the auto giant. This will include the relaunched Jaguar electric marque, whose models are expected to start at PS100,000.

In 2024, the first all-electric Range Rover will be launched by the group, which is built in Solihull, West Midlands. The company has doubled its investment plans, doubling them to £15 billion in the next five year period, as part of the strategy to eliminate all internal combustion engines models by 2036.

The company, however, has declined to specify where it will source its batteries for electric vehicles. It only said that Tata its Indian conglomerate mother, would build a gigafactory in Europe.

Batteries will be procured from overseas suppliers who are not named in the meantime. These batteries are likely to be imported into the UK where they will be assembled in battery packs at Hams Hall, near Birmingham, and the Wolverhampton facility, which used to make diesel engines.

Jaguar Land Rover, which is heavily indebted and has been losing money for more than two years, announced that it would also reinvent itself to become a “house” of brands. The group’s “Reimagine”, a programme designed to revolutionise and transform the company to achieve zero-emissions automotive production.

Land Rover will not be completely wiped off the history of motoring, according to the company. As a “trustmark”, some vehicles will have small Land Rover badges on the inside and outside.

Thierry Bollore who initiated the program left the company in the last year for personal reasons. Reimagine has not been discussed by the group, which led many to believe that the company’s biggest automotive employer was in trouble.

The company has decided to drop Land Rover as the name of the holding, and will now be known as JLR. It will then split into four brands, the Range Rover, the most expensive, the Defender, which will be built in Slovakia, Discovery, intended to serve as a brand for the family, and Jaguar. Jaguar will start with three new models, and will discontinue its entire model lineup.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in a Land Rover driving through Wellington in New Zealand in 1981

The first model will be a four-door GT or grand tourer with high performance, priced at PS100,000. It will be manufactured in Solihull. The company refused to comment on other models, but it is almost certain that one of them will be a successor to the E-type two-door sports car from the 1960s.

Gerry McGovern said Sir William Lyons had demanded at the beginning that Jaguar “will be a replica of nothing”. McGovern stated that he was responsible for taking the Jaguar marque “outside of the mainstream”, and producing vehicles that would “give a feeling of never having seen them before”.

Adrian Mardell who was promoted to interim chief executive while Tata continues their search for a permanent successor, acknowledged that the group has undergone a complete strategy change and will reposition themselves as a stable “modern luxury” brand.

He acknowledged that a reinvention was an effort to finish “unfinished work” as the Jaguar marque seemed to be in danger to fall into obscurity due to an attack on the electric market from Tesla and others.

Mardell claimed that the group’s financial situation had improved. After returning to profit in the last financial period, which ended at the end last month, Mardell stated that the group had generated £1.3 billion over the past six-months. Mardell said that this level of cashflow will support investment of £3billion a year for the next five-years.

Cash flow has been generated by the increase in the average JLR model price over the last four years, from 44,000 PS to 71,000 PS. The prices are expected to rise even further in the future. The company had to produce 660,000 cars a year in order to break even four years ago. That number has been cut to just 300,000.

Mardell stated that the company would be cash-positive by 2025, and have operating profit margins of double digits the following year.

The company refused to comment on the impact of its reinvention on jobs. It has a global workforce of 40,000 people. They did say, however, that 29,000 employees are being “upskilled ” to build electric vehicles and sell them .

The Halewood plant in Merseyside will be an all-electric factory by 2025. It is home to the Range Rover Evoque.

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