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It’s sometimes hard to believe anything you hear in the news these days. With countries still looking for bailout money (Portugal being the latest) and others struggling to climb out of recession, it would appear that austerity measures are still the norm, rather than the exception.
On the other hand, sales for some luxury goods and services, seem to be on the rise. Take the case of Jaguar Land Rover. On April 6th, the company reported that March 2011 was its best ever sales month with global growth up by some 6 percent over last year.
Much of that increase in demand came, not surprisingly, from China and India, though the UK, North America, parts of Europe and Russia also reported significant gains in vehicle sales.
Naturally Jaguar Land Rover was pleased with the results; Group Sales Operations Director Phil Popham stating that “Despite a challenging business environment, Jaguar Land Rover is flourishing on a global scale with March sales reflecting the confidence consumers have in our brands and products. We have ambitious plans to grow our business and it is clear that there is a strong appetite in the market for exciting new products, powertrains and technologies which will further improve our penetration in key markets and segments.”
Indeed. Although the global sales increase may seem by a fairly small amount; some individual markets, such as Russia for Land Rover and Germany for Jaguar; reported sales gains of almost 50 percent for the month of March. In lean economic times, that’s a sign of strong brand equity.
While nothing is certain at this stage, what’s clear is that Jaguar and Land Rover are two internationally-recognized brands that do not have any manufacturing presence in China, one of the world’s largest markets and a major source of sales for the two brands. Meanwhile, competitors Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW have all found partners in China, leaving parent company Tata Motors alone at the prom.
“The two companies are exploring opportunities for a cooperative effort. Senior executives of Jaguar and Land Rover came over and visited our plant earlier this month,” said the executives. “It’s fair to say that contacts between the two parties have already passed the initial stage, but no final decision has been reached so far.”
After Jaguar and Land Rover lost money during their messy sale to Tata, the Chinese market helped turn them around to the tune of approx. $434 million in profits in the last quarters of 2008. The market was the fastest-growing for the company in 2010, with a staggering increase of 95 percent. With these results, it’s only logical that Jaguar and Land Rover will seek to solidify their growth in the Chinese luxury segment while Great Wall builds mass-produced sedans and trucks.
[Sources: Automotive News, Reuters]
Five consecutive quarters of being “in the black” has paid off for Jaguar Land Rover. The luxury automaker is set to make over a billion pounds in profit ($1.6 billion) after strong sales around the world, especially in Asia.
In the last three months of 2010, the company netted a record profit of $440 million. Just a year ago, in the same quarter, Jaguar Land Rover made “only” $88 million. In America the company announced a 48% and 16% increase in growth for Jaguar and Land Rover, respectively. It’s also been a long time since 2009, when JLR was nearly forced to seek a bailout from the U.K. government. This impressive increase reflects the turnaround that the company has made since it was sold off by Ford to Tata Motors; think Alan Mulally is kicking himself over in Dearborn?
To reflect this growth and keep its momentum, JLR will increase production from 232,000 vehicles a year to over 300,000, as well as hire new engineers around the world.
[Source: The Telegraph]
Ask any auto manufacturer and they will say that one of the most important car markets at the moment is China. With their population and economic growth, China is now one of the largest car markets in the world, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Jaguar/Land Rover opened a flagship store in Beijing last month, and expects to sell 400 vehicles a year from this facility. Another new showroom in the city of Tianjin has also opened doors, and should move about 200 vehicles a year.
In 2010, Jaguar/Land Rover sales doubled in China, with Jaguar moving 2700 vehicles, while Land Rover moved an astonishing 23,500 vehicles, suggesting SUV’s are the preferred mode of transport for the rich.
Earlier this week both the United Kingdom and China signed business deals reported to be worth around 2.6 billion pounds ($4 billion). A part of those deals included arrangements to sell more Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles in China.
Jaguar Land Rover, which is currently a unit of the Indian conglomerate Tata Corp, has committed to sell around 40,000 vehicles in the world’s largest auto market, in a deal alone worth 1 billion pounds ($1.53 billion).
The deals were signed after a visit to Britain by China’s vice premier Li Keqiang. Other large deals were also announced following the VP’s visits to Spain and Germany.
The Jaguar Land Rover deal, according to that firm’s CEO Ralf Speth, “not only signals the acceleration of our growth plans but also reflects both the importance of the Chinese market to Jaguar Land Rover and our value to the UK economy.”
Jaguar-Land Rover currently has three manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom, one in Halewood, Liverpool (a former Ford factory) and two in the West Midlands, Castle Bromwich and Solihull.
The current British Government , despite enacting austerity measures to stimulate economic recovery, including major slashes in public spending, hopes that the China deal will help spur growth at home.
With recent confirmation that Jaguar is planning to add new models to its lineup, company CEO Carl-Peter Forster has made clear plans that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will expand in a big way. “Over the next few years we plan to nearly double our vehicle selection,” he said in an interview with Automotive News publication Automobilwoche.
Forster recently joined JLR-owner Tata Motors from General Motors Europe and together with new JLR boss Ralf Speth, the two quickly began to examine his new company for growth strategies. “there were many gaps in the portfolio,” said Speth, “We had to initially consider what the brands should look like and what models we should have.”
The results of this plan are now becoming clear, with news that Jaguar will launch a new X-Type model as a competitor to the 3 Series, as well as a new XE Concept that will eventually evolve into an entry level sports car to compete with the Porsche Boxster. Also confirmed are an XF Wagon and long-wheelbase model for China, while the XF Coupe continues to be just a rumor.
As for the Land Rover line, it will get a new Evoque model (which is expected to be offered in both 2-door and 4-door sizes).
A main goal for the company is the reduction of the weight in its vehicles, which will help improve both performance and fuel economy.
[Source: Automotive News via CNET]
With recent news of several new models joining a the Jaguar lineup, CEO Carl-Peter Forster has shed some new light on the company’s expansion plans – with a little creative interpretation from the folks at AutoExpress. According to a new report, the F-Type will take Jaguar down-market in the sports car segment, competing with the Porsche Boxster. Priced significantly lower than the current XK line, Jaguar could increase sports car sales considerably. The project is already part-way started with Forster admitting that designer Ian Callum has already begun the clay modeling stage.
Equally exciting is renewed ambition for Jaguar to create a new X-Type model – one that doesn’t devalue the brand, but rather works as a proper stepping stone to bring younger buyers into the Jaguar fold. Inspiration for the X-Type could come from the R-D6 concept (above), with coupe-like styling along the lines of the Mercedes CLS.
Also planned is a new wagon model, likely off the XF platform – but that’s not all. At a press conference last week Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) chairman Ralf Speth commented that the XF has been a sales success, but that more models are needed in that family. This might be a clear hint that Jaguar is planning an XF Coupe (and possibly even a convertible). The cars would clearly target the Mercedes E-Class Coupe, which has already attracted enough attention that Infiniti has decided to build a rival M Coupe.
All these new models are thanks to a major investment by parent company Tata Motors, which has decided to put £1 billion into JLR each year for the next five years. And JLR doesn’t seem to be squandering the opportunity, instead using the cash infusion to design, engineer and build more high-volume models that will allow the automaker to become self-sustaining.
With Tata just having announced a return to profitability based on increased demand of its Jaguar Land Rover models, the company is now laying out an ambitious plan for the future. Included in that plan is the production of the Jaguar F-Type – a more driver focused model that will likely compete more readily with the Porsche 911.
The announcement is part of a plan by Tata to invest £1 billion in JLR each year for the next five years. Not only will the cash infusion go towards model development, but also towards innovative technology.
Back in 1998 Jaguar showed an F-Type concept, called the XK180, but it has since been delayed several times due to instability at the company and then a shaky market. Shown above, a future F-Type is unlikely to look anything like this concept, with Jaguar having made a significant style change with models like the XF and new XJ.
In addition to the F-Type, AutoExpress also reports that JLR will add three other models including a new Land Rover, a proper BMW 3 Series rival and even a “executive estate” – likely along the lines of the 5 Series GT and Audi A7.
Jaguar hybrids will begin to roll out starting in 2013, just after the launch of hybrid technology in the Land Rover lineup. According to a report by Car Magazine, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has confirmed the XJ and XF models will arrive first starting in late 2013 or early 2014. Jaguar does, however, plan to eventually offer every model with a hybrid option.
Like the Land Rover models, the hybrid Jags will use the company’s upcoming 8-speed automatic transmission and lighter aluminum platforms to deliver even better fuel economy. Jaguar will also look to offer both diesel and gasoline hybrid models, with the diesels set to hit the market first.
Last week JLR unveiled the Range_e, a concept based on the Range Rover Sport, but using a hybrid diesel powertrain. The production model will hit the market in 2013, with testing beginning later this year.
Jaguar, like Land Rover, will also look to bring a range-extended electric vehicle (Chevy Volt-type system) to market by 2015 with 20 miles of emissions free travel at speeds of up to 70 mph.
From the very first moment we laid eyes on the new 2011 Jaguar XJ it was obvious was the British automaker was planning – to take on “mainstream” competitors like Lexus and Mercedes with a more forward-thinking luxury saloon. Why would Jaguar want to build a luxury sedan to rival those other two? Simple: sales.
Until the debut of the 2010 model, it was hard to tell a 10 year old XJ apart from a brand new one – which is as much of an insult as it is a credit to the timelessness of the car’s design. But now the XJ looks like something younger buyers would want, with an appeal that speaks to more than just the old-money type.
According to a report by Automotive News, Jaguar will launch the new XJ next month and is hoping the car will drive up XJ sales by as much as 50 percent. With broader appeal and a fresh new design that shouldn’t be too hard. Jaguar should also be helped out by the improving economic forecast and that fact that last year’s sales were down 21 percent compared to the year before (which is a better representation of normal Jaguar sales). In total, last year Jag moved just 51,885 and the automaker is looking for closer to 75,000 units moving forward.
Along with a new design, the new XJ also has more to offer in order to compete with the likes of the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, et al. Standard XJ models get Jaguar’s new 5.0-liter direct-injection V8 engine, with 385-hp and 380 ft-lbs of torque, while Supercharged versions jump to 470-hp and 424 ft-lbs of torque. The top-level XJ Supersport makes 510hp and 461 ft-lbs of torque from a more potent supercharged 5.0-liter V8, helping it to hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.
In the U.S., pricing starts at $72,500 with the high-powered XJL (long wheelbase) Supersport listing at a substantial $115,000.
GALLERY: 2011 Jaguar XJ
[Source: Automotive News via Autoblog]
In an effort to reduce production costs and simplify the overall manufacturing and R&D process, Jaguar Land Rover is looking to move from its current setup of six platforms to just two. How is this possible, you might be asking yourself, especially looking at the varied models the company now produces, from the Jaguar XK luxury sports car, to the simply massive Range Rover.
According to a report by AutoCar, it wont be all that difficult and just because there will be only two platforms, it still doesn’t mean most vehicles will ride on exactly the same architecture. In fact, it will be quite the opposite, with JLR using platforms that can be adapted for different sized vehicles with different purposes. The first platform will be a steel structure and will be offered in three lengths for the Freelander range, while a new aluminum platform will underpin the XJ and XF as well as the Range Rover. A thinner version of this aluminum structure will then be used for the XK as well as a new XE roadster model.
Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motorsw says it will close either a Jaguar or Land Rover factory in England by 2014. The decision as to which of the company’s three U.K. plants will be shuddered has not yet been made, but Tata has said which two are on the chopping block.
The first candidate is the Jaguar facility in Castle Bromwich and the second is a Land Rover facility in Solihull. The plan is to consolidate the two facilities over the next five years, with a decision being made in the next 12 to 18 months. Currently JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) employs 5,000 staff in Solihull, 2,000 in Castle Bromwich and 1,800 at the Halewood plant (pictured above) in northwestern England. There is no word on how many jobs will be cut, but Tata did say that800 additional jobs will be created in Halewood when production starts on a new small crossover based on the LRX Concept.
JLR suffered considerable losses during the recent economic downturn, with reduced demand meaning that JLR production facilities were only working at 60 percent capacity. So far, in order to meet the decreased demand the automaker has cut production by over 100,000 units while cutting 25,000 jobs.
[Source: Automotive News]
In front of a select audience, Jaguar took the wraps off its Limo-Green Concept, a hybrid version of the company’s newly-released 2010 XJ flagship. The car will appear at the Frankfurt Auto Show starting tomorrow (September 15th).
Powered by a 145kw (195hp) and 295 ft-lb electric motor and a 1.2-liter gasoline engine (developed by Lotus), the car is capable of 30 miles under pure electric power before the gasoline engine kicks in to provide an extended range of 600 miles. Jaguar says the car is rated at 57 mpg and a top speed of 112 mph.
The Limo-Green is more than just a fanciful concept car, however, and Jaguar says it will begin testing a production model next year. Anthony Harper, head of research at Jaguar Land Rover, told the U.K.’s AutoCar that Jaguar originally began testing this Range Extender engine in the previous XJ but decided to switch to the new chassis when it debuted just a few months back.
Jaguar won’t set a date for when the Limo-Green Concept could see production and did warn that it could be a while as the parts involved are still prohibitively expensive and not quite up to Jaguar standards yet.
JLR posted a $1.11 billion loss last year but that won’t stop Tata from making big changes, the first of which is an initiative to reduce the weight of all new vehicles.
“JLR is planning to have all its future cars constructed with light weight aluminum bodies resulting in considerable savings in weight and reduction in CO2 emissions,” said CEO Ratan Tata in his company’s annual report. Weight is certainly something Land Rovers could lose, as some models are currently approaching the 6,000 lb mark.
Jaguar’s new 2010 XJ (pictured above) not only makes use of aluminum body panels but an all aluminum frame and is the first of a new line of Jaguars to be launched by Tata. The lighter package requires a less powerful (and more fuel-efficient) engine, as well as smaller and less expensive brakes to stop.
Considering the massive weight of Ranger Rovers and the significant surface area that their sheet metal has to cover, an aluminum body would make a noticeable difference. [Source: Motoemag]
The acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) by Tata Motors Ltd. from Ford continues to hurt the Indian automaker as the two British brands recorded a combined net loss of $1.11 billion in 2008.
As a sign of the troubled economic times, in 2007 the two automakers managed a total net profit of roughly one billion dollars.
Tata has worked hard to cut costs across the board and has introduced several new models which it hopes will boost sales, especially now that the auto-sector (and the economy) seems poised for recovery. New models include the significantly revised 2010 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport as well as the LR4 (pictured above). And in the Jaguar division JLR recently lunched a new flagship XJ, which leaves behind the traditional Jaguar design for a more broad-based look that the automaker hopes will help it compete with higher-volume German rivals.
In order to keep operations running in the short term Tata is currently working out a loan agreement with the British government, the value of which is reportedly worth around $290 million. The money is all but guaranteed, however, the British government would like a short 6-month term to re-pay the loan, whereas Tata is asking for 12 months. The British government is also seeking a spot on Tata’s board, to ensure its money is being spent wisely.
[Source: Automotive News]
Tata Motors has posted its first annual loss in eight years due to a significant drop in demand for vehicles from its newly acquired Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) unit. The Indian automaker, also known for manufacturing the world’s cheapest car (the Nano), posted a net loss of $520 million for its 2009 fiscal year, with a $504 million loss at JLR.
In the 10 months since Tata bought JLR from Ford Motor Co., the division moved just 167,000 units – compared to 246,000 units during the same 10 month period the year before.
Tata’s Vice Chairman Ravi Kant told a news conference that the automaker was continuing to search for ways to cut costs and he did not rule out job cuts and plant closures.
Tata’s fiscal calendar ended at the start of March, and Tata says JLR has posted better numbers since then.
After purchasing Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford, and then dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the two British brands, Indian carmaker Tata is just beginning to see the light – thanks to the Chinese government. According to a report in the Business Standard, the Chinese government has just signed a deal with Tata for the purchase of 13,000 new Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles.
The deal is reportedly worth $850 million – roughly a third of what Tata paid for the two companies just two years ago.
Apparently the division of cars will be be 10,000 Land Rovers and 3,000 Jaguars, although there are not details on which specific models.
A spokesperson for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said that this deal, “provides us with a solid base on which to further build our presence in this key emerging market and is particularly welcomed at this challenging time for us and the automotive industry.”
JLR is currently undergoing a downsizing operation that will see 450 employees let go – bringing the total to 2,000 since the economic crisis started. Compared to the industry as a whole, however, both companies have fared rather well with Land Rover posting a sales decline of 17 percent in 2008 and Jaguar actually posting an increase of 8 percent over the same period.
The two companies were expected to take part in the $3.2 billion bailout from the British government and the European Investment Bank, however, that might not be quite so necessary now.
[Source: Business Standard]