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The future of Jaguar

2 years ago

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Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder


22 November 2022

So Thierry Bolloré has left the big chair at Jaguar Land Rover after barely two years in the job. The reasons for his departure are described as ‘personal’, which could mean almost anything. Did he walk, was he pushed, or did he just not want to be the person held responsible for what might happen in the future? I don’t know and JLR certainly isn’t saying.

But it makes me fear for the future of Jaguar more than ever, and I’ve been covering the ups and downs of the company for nearly 35 years. When I started out in the late 1980s, Jaguar was reeling from the reception to the new XJ6, code-named XJ40, a car whose build quality and reliability record in its early days made it simply not fit for purpose. And I can remember the audible sighs of relief around the Autocar office when Ford finally struck a deal to buy it in 1989. Jaguar was safe, it would receive the investment the brand equity commanded and all would be well. And, for a while, in its own modest way, it was.

It didn’t last. Although there were some high points – the XK8 most notable among them – the mainstream product from the Ford era used proprietary platforms and completely underestimated what was required. The S-Type was a better car than it ever received credit for, but its old man styling was a fatal flaw. And the Mondeo-based X-Type was simply nowhere near the mark set by the BMW 3 Series.

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