Jaguar goes into “hibernation” until 2025

While waiting for a total overhaul that will see the switch to all-electric and an even more upscale positioning, Jaguar has decided to fallow. By 2025, no new products will be launched and the current models in the range, most of them recently restyled, will be available in versions with less choice 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 significant 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 CEO of Renault, now number one in the Jaguar Land Rover group (JLR, bought by the Indian Tata from Ford in 2008), initiates a 180 degree turn. Forgotten about the “English BMW” project. The time has come 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 automotive consultant Inovev.

The Coventry (England) firm has taken note of the failure of the volume race in which it had entered. It has failed to acquire engines that comply with environmental standards or to offer a degree of sophistication, a rate of renewal and reliability comparable to German competition. Rather than negotiating a gradual transition by developing plug-in hybrids or integrating a few electric models, it was decided to kind of put Jaguar under cover. The XJ battery-powered large sedan project was canceled altogether, as was the establishment of a joint platform with Land Rover.

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

“Back to the luxury segment”

This radical choice consisting in moving back in order to jump better does not stop worrying the network. Weaned from deliveries due to the semiconductor crisis, it will have to hold out until 2025 without being able to rely on any novelty. “It’s quite violent and, if we are not sponsored by the manufacturer, we will not succeed”, warns Philippe Dugardin, president of the group of Jaguar and Land Rover dealers. Returning to the luxury segment is not a problem for me, but with a network of what scale we expect to achieve it ”, he adds.

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

Brands like Alfa Romeo or Fiat, which have allowed their catalog to age for shorter parentheses, have never been able to regain their initial sales level.

For the time being, the some seventy points of sale 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 hit the ground running and launch six new electric models over the next four years.

Shutdown until 2025, is Jaguar a masterpiece in peril? Brands like Alfa Romeo or Fiat, which have allowed their catalog to age for shorter parentheses, have never been able to regain their initial sales level. Exception to the rule, the English firm Mini has been reborn after a hiatus of several years by adopting a more upscale positioning, under the leadership of BMW. The precedent has probably not escaped the strategists of Jaguar.

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