Friday, May 24, 2019


This story has been all over the global news pages this past month, and according to my ‘mole’ at Peugeot discussions for Groupe PSA to acquire the ailing Jaguar Land Rover from Tata Group are well-advanced.

Because of falling sales in China, and the almost complete cessation of demand for Jaguar passenger cars, in favour of its three new SUVs, Tata Group posted a loss of USD$4 billion in the final fiscal quarter of last year, driven by JLR's losses.

Jaguar car sales are dead in the water and the only thing keeping the British company afloat is continued high demand for Land Rover vehicles.

In the USA, Jaguar’s biggest export market, sales of passenger cars plummeted over the past year, whilst the E-Pace, F-Pace and i-Pace SUVs have gained the ascendency.

Forget everything you know about Jaguar’s grand history, its motor sport victories, how Sir Williams Lyons set the motoring world alight, first with the XK-120 in 1950; then the E-type in 1960 and the fantastic Jaguar XJ-6 sedan in 1968.

Having spent close to 20 years helping to revive Jaguar’s fortunes on more than three occasions, we always joked that the way PR could save the company was to trot out loads of stories of the fabled company's myths and legends.

Unfortunately, the days of ‘saving Jaguar’ with myths and legends is now over.

It is a completely different automotive manufacturer now, selling to an entirely different buyer segment and although its foresight in developing its highly-regarded SUVs shows it has its finger on the pulse of the market, its fallback on passenger cars is dragging it into bigger and bigger losses.

Both the British and French automotive commentators are saying that PSA acquiring JLR would be a good thing for both brands. Groupe PSA Chairman Carlos Tavares is on record saying that the Group would like to acquire a true luxury brand, and although the prospect of a takeover is being denied, it certainly isn’t being strenuously denied.

Carlos Tavares has also made it known that re-entering the USA market is a priority for PSA, and in this new scenario the cost would be a lot less than doing it alone.

JLR has an established North American dealer network, an efficient distribution chain, excellent supplier links, and it is well-ahead in the development of electric vehicles.

The other element in any final outcome is what a post-Brexit Britain will look like and its impact on JLR. One British newspaper, known for its excessive use of hyperbole, says the sale of JLR is imminent, and that could be a saving grace for JLR regardless of how Theresa May’s Brexit troubles play out.

NOTE: Week commencing June 3, JLR and BMW AG have announced they will form a 'loose partnership' to jointly develop electric vehicles.

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