Jaguar into ‘hibernation’ for 3 years?
Apparently, the British/Indian car manufacturer Jaguar has decided to hibernate for the next three years. Between now and 2025, no new Jaguar will arrive on the market. Instead, the current recently revised models will remain for sale in a less abundant portfolio.
No factory will close its doors, but cost cuts on all levels will also mean that some people will have to leave, even though the personnel already has been reduced from 42 000 to 35 000 the past years.
Instead of competing with premium brands like Audi, BMW, or Mercedes, Jaguar wants to return to its fundamentals, with more elitist luxury models evoking yesterday’s prestige.
“Bentley sells between 10 000 and 12 000 cars per year, Jaguar sold 90 000 last year, but its aim was 200 000,” says the automotive consultant Inovev. “The Coventry-based company has noted that its aim for higher volumes hasn’t worked. Apparently, there was a lack in sophistication, model renewing and even reliability when compared with the German big three.”
Jaguar has now clearly chosen to avoid a so-called progressive transition. It will not develop plug-in hybrids anymore of its existing models and the XJ electric project has been abandoned.
Even the common electric platform with Land Rover is gone and Jaguar seems to be searching for a new all-electric platform coming from outside. It makes speculations about the possible sale of the brand raise their head again.
What about clients and dealers?
This radical choice of the top management worries the dealers, of course. Belgian Philippe Robbrecht, now the boss of JLR France, stays optimistic. “Right now, our order book in the Hexagone is well filled and we sell more than a year ago.”
Philiipe Dugardin, president of the JLR dealers in France, is less confident. “This is a violent decision and we will have to count on the aid of the manufacturer. I have no problem returning to the real luxury segment, but we will have to establish what dealer organisation will be behind it.”
Of course, there are very few single Jaguar dealers and the others can thrive on the ever-raising sales figures of Land Rover. There is a strong interest for the Defender and the very recently introduced 5th generation of the Range Rover, despite a serious price hike.
In stark contrast with its sister company, Land Rover will launch 6 electrified models in the next 4 years and also continue to surf on the positive wave the introduction of cars like the Evoque and, recently, the new Defender has created.
Jaguar had build up a nice portfolio and registered a certain success, but maybe chasing big volumes wasn’t the right way to go. Nobody knows what putting everything on ice during at least 3 years will do to the image of the brand and the spirit of its fans.
A brand like Alfa Romeo is still suffering severely from its recent drawbacks and lack of innovation and will have to work hard to come to former success levels again. Jaguar has to be careful for not ending in the same dead end street.
There are, of course, examples of the opposite. The also iconic and English Mini brand has reinvented itself after years of interruption by choosing another and higher market position, under the wings of BMW.
No doubt that the marketing strategists at JLR have been looking in that direction when they decided to halt the silent and slow bleeding and go for a new start again after a period of introspection.