Jaguar goes into ‘hibernation’ until 2025

Pending a total overhaul that will see the transition to all-electric and an even more upmarket positioning, Jaguar has decided to lay fallow. Between now and 2025, nothing new will be introduced and the current models in the range, most of which have recently been restyled, will be available in versions with fewer choices of engine and equipment. A period during which no factory is supposed to close, but which will result in an adjustment of the workforce, already reduced from 42,000 to 35,000 employees, and a sharp reduction in costs.

The Jaguars of the new era, all 100% electric, will be designed to compete, no longer with the Audi-BMW-Mercedes trio, but with Bentley or Porsche. The “Reimagine” plan, endowed with 3 billion euros and announced in 2020 by Thierry Bolloré, former general manager of Renault, now number one in the Jaguar Land Rover group (JLR, bought by the Indian Tata from Ford in 2008), initiate a 180 degree turn. Forgotten the “English BMW” project. It’s time for a return to basics, with more elite models evoking the prestige of yesteryear. “Bentley sells between 10,000 and 12,000 cars each year, while Jaguar sold 90,000 last year [contre un objectif de 200 000] and is financially in a very delicate position”, notes the automotive consultant Inovev.

The firm of Coventry (England) took note of the failure of the race for volumes in which it had engaged. It has not been able to equip itself with engines that comply with environmental standards or offer a degree of sophistication, a rate of renewal and reliability comparable to the German competition. Rather than proposing a gradual transition by developing plug-in hybrids or integrating a few electric models, it was decided to somehow put Jaguar under glass. The large battery-powered XJ saloon project was purely and simply cancelled, as was the establishment of a common platform with Land Rover.

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“The brand looks forward; 2025 is barely three years away,” plays down Philippe Robbrecht, the new president of JLR-France. “In France, our book is filled with 1,500 orders and we are in a more favorable spiral than a year ago”, he assures. Slowing down the brand founded by Sir Williams Lyons should also help to lower the breakeven point and allow the group to reach a break-even point with much lower production.

“Return to the luxury segment”

This radical choice consisting in moving back to better jump does not cease to worry the network. Weaned from deliveries due to the semiconductor crisis, it will have to hold out until 2025 without being able to rely on the slightest novelty. “It’s quite violent and, if we are not sponsored by the manufacturer, we will not succeed”, warns Philippe Dugardin, president of the Jaguar and Land Rover dealership group. The return to the luxury segment does not pose any problem for me, but we would have to know with a network of what magnitude we intend to achieve this”, he adds.

Some analysts wonder if Jaguar’s withdrawal, and the vagueness surrounding the platform used for future models – which should come from an external supplier – does not presage, in the long term, an outright resale . Possible operation given the aura of the firm, but which would delicately make its nesting, on the industrial level, with Land Rover.

Brands like Alfa Romeo or Fiat, which allowed their catalog to age for shorter periods of time, were never able to regain their initial level of sales.

For the time being, the approximately seventy points of sale present in France (there is no single Jaguar dealer) can count on the dynamism of Land Rover sales. These benefit from the success of the new Defender (from 73,400 euros) and the promising start of the latest generation of the Range Rover (122,600 euros), two models whose prices have been significantly revised upwards. Unlike Jaguar, Land Rover will go all out and launch six new electric models in the next four years.

Shut down until 2025, is Jaguar a masterpiece in danger? Brands like Alfa Romeo or Fiat, which allowed their catalog to age for shorter periods of time, were never able to regain their initial level of sales. Exception to the rule, the English firm Mini knew how to be reborn after an interruption of several years by adopting a more upscale positioning, under the leadership of BMW. The precedent probably did not escape Jaguar’s strategists.

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