News : Jaguar’s Ian Callum honoured in Detroit


Few would disagree with the view that the F-Type is one of the most beautiful designs to emerge from Jaguar in a very long time – the new sports car is the perfect halo product for the rapidly expanding company and it’s a very convincing alternative for the Porsche 911. So, it’s no surprise that Jaguar’s Design Director Ian Callum has been named ‘Industry Innovator of the Year’ at the 2014 Motorcity Automotive Industry Night (MAIN) Event Awards.

The ceremony took place at Orchestra Hall, Detroit, in front of an audience of more than 700 automotive executives, designers and international media. Ian Callum has been at Jaguar since 1999 and its visual transformation under his guidance is there for all to see. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art (RCA) on the Automobile Design course, Callum has received five honorary doctorates from universities around the world.

Ian Callum said: ‘It is an honour to receive this award.  It is with the benefit of having such a great team around me that we have been able to deliver the cars and designs that define Jaguar today.’

Keith Adams


  1. A well deserved award. After the death of Geoff Lawson in 2000, who himself had put so much emphasis into reaffirming Jaguar’s classic design language, Ian Callum had a huge task ahead of him to build on this. But he has. The latest XK and XF, in particular, really do give Jaguar a contemporary design language that still has hints of the past in their haunches and overall silhouette. He has also successfully shown that Jaguars can also exude conviction in alternative bodystyles such as estates (particularly the XF Sportbrake) and Sports Utility Vehicles (C-X17 design concept) that would have previously been frowned upon.

    These are exciting times for the Jaguar marque and Ian Callum is certainly the best man to continue taking them forward, to deliver inspiring designs that drivers really do want to be seen behind the wheel of. And for those who can’t afford a new Jaguar, these are designs that will still look fresh and distinctive 20 years on from when they were launched.

  2. Indeed well deserved. However Keith Helfet should not be overlooked in Jaguar’s design history. Also he was responsible for the basic design of the DB7 that Callum tweaked from the still-born XJ41 and XJ42 F type into the DB7.

  3. I don’t think that Geoff Lawson put much effort “into re-affirming Jaguar’s classic design language”. I think that he just got out a Jaguar history book and photocopied the old pictures.

    The XJ’s under him, the S-Type, the X-Type were all backwards looking designs and people were sick of them.

    Ian Callum did not build on them, he put them in the bin and started again such that the XF and the XJ look fresh and modern and look nothing like any Jaguar from the past. His approach works. Lawson’s did not.

    • The X300 (XJ)and X100 (XK) were the best that could be done at the time with the limited money available. Both were based on existing products – XJ40 and XJ27. The X200 (S-Type) was dictated by Dearborn and based heavily on the DEW98 (Lincoln). The X400 (X-Type) was styled in Dearborn without any real Lawson input. Geoff and his team had many great looking styles, but Ford simply wouldn’t go with them – remember the XK180? Or the original F-Type concept car?

  4. “Few would argue that the F-Type is one of the most beautiful designs to emerge from Jaguar in a very long time”

    So only a few people like it?- or is this a modern usage that I’ve missed? I presume you mean that few people would argue against that statement. I wouldn’t!

  5. The continued success of JLR is a joy that smothers the bitter memories of the failures of MGR.

    Long may it continue,

  6. It’s slightly curious, Ian winning the award this year, as the F type is very nice, but not actually that innovative, it looks like you’d expect a Jag sports car to look like.

    The current XJ on the other hand is a very radical piece of styling, though none of the Jags compete with the RR Evoque on that front!

  7. I’m so pleased for Ian. He’s delivered a wonderful driver’s car in the F-Type. Scaring Porsche without the benefit of 40 years of continuous development, that’s some real innovation at work!

  8. It is true that under Geoff Lawson the designs became just a pastiche of previous cars, however, I suspect he was leaned on by Ford to not rock the boat too much. Under Ian Callum the transformation has been remarkable, but I have to say, I do struggle with liking them, especially the new XJ, although the XK is very nice. Of course the F-type is OK but it will never have the impact the E-type had

  9. The E-Type that everyone remembers is purely for the looks, the car it’s self was a major death trap, and was well known for crashing at the slightest dampness on the roads, but who cares about that, it looked and still does, stunning, it was a design that will never be beaten.

    With all the new regulations, and differing laws around the world, cars are becoming more generic, which is such a shame, there are of course the exception to this rule, and all of Jaguars products are those exceptions.

    The new XS will be a baby MK2 XF, is this the right way to go, an AUDIesque way of designing cars, I am not too sure, and the pricing of the new baby will also be a bit questionable, it’s cheapest will be around the £27k mark, and with the XF only a couple of grand more, why not just have the XF ?

    Ian deserves this and all other awards, as he has sngle handedly (well not entirely) changed the perception of the brand, the last time a designer did that was Bangle and the dire BMW products he designed, Jaguar will have a busy 15 years ahead, with many new and re-freshed products coming to market, along with new plants and more alliances.

    JLR are on a roll, one which will carry on for a long time yet, everyone there deserves praise, not just the one, I look forward to the brand new XS, XF and QT this year (some concepts) and further new models in the ensuing years.

    • Your first paragraph is arrant nonsense . There was nothing unsafe about the E, and as someone who owns 2 and who has covered many miles in them over the 25 years I have driven them I can say that they have never given me a moment’s concern in relation to handling, whether in the wet, the dry or on snow . Because they are fundamental understeerers they handle wonderfully

  10. @JagBoy
    What platent are you on? ‘The E-Type that everyone remembers is purely for the looks, the car it’s self was a major death trap, and was well known for crashing at the slightest dampness on the roads’ Utter rubbish have you ever driven one in the wet and compared it with it’s conteporaties, if you want a car that behaves like that the 911 is you car. The E was probbaly one of the best behaved cars of it’s time although its price probably did put many in the hands of drivers not used to that level of power. Its far better in the wet thatn an Aston or Ferrari of that time

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