News : JLR needs to invest in the future

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Range Rover Vogue (1)

Jaguar Land Rover has returned to health in the four years since it was bought by Tata Motors, but now comes the hard part for the luxury British automaker: proving it can build new models without former owner Ford.

Since Tata took a $2.3bn gamble to buy JLR from Ford at the height of the financial crisis, it has been winning new customers in Asia. The company now has factories working around the clock in England, bucking the trend of hard times for European automakers. JLR sold 357,773 vehicles in 2012, 30 per cent up on a year earlier, and would create 800 jobs at its Solihull plant to keep up with demand.

British-based managers credit their new Indian owners with providing the capital needed for JLR to expand – especially in China – while avoiding the sort of overseas micro-management that they say stifled the company under Ford. Tata’s funding allowed JLR to launch products from a fully loaded development pipeline inherited from Ford. But whether it can continue that success — and unlock its future potential — depends on learning how to update its portfolio on its own, including achieving ambitions to develop in-house engine and transmission technology by 2015.

JLR has yet to release a model designed under Tata’s ownership. It still buys many of its engines from Ford. That is set to change. JLR now aims to invest £1.5bn a year until 2017 in new products and in expanding its engine range, CEO Ralf Speth says. It plans to unveil eight new vehicles in 2013. A new plant near Wolverhampton built at a cost of £355m will design, engineer and manufacture its new family of engines, creating 750 engineering and manufacturing jobs.

It will make low-emission, four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. The new models are needed, industry analysts say. Despite the success of cars like the Jaguar XF and the Range Rover Evoque, a Goldman Sachs report says JLR’s product line ‘is currently inadequate, and suffers from significant gaps.’

The report valued JLR at only 2.8 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, compared with 9.1 times EBITDA for German rival BMW. ‘In order to achieve more sustainable and broad-based growth in the long term, we believe JLR will need to invest in increasing its presence in segments it is currently not present in,’ Goldman Sachs said.

Turnaround

JLR’s turnaround so far has been remarkable. When the global automotive industry fell into crisis at the end of the last decade it had to slash jobs and take loans from the State Bank of India and the European Investment Bank. Tata lent JLR some $1.5bn to help it survive the downturn. Since then, it has seen those efforts rewarded with a record pre-tax profit of $2.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended March 31, success that seems to vindicate the hunch of Ratan Tata, patriarch of the $100 billion Tata Group.

When he first bought JLR, skeptics suggested Tata — who had already bought British firms such as Tetley Tea in 2000 and Corus, formerly British Steel, in 2007 — was overpaying for another UK trophy. Now, criticism of the purchase is hardly heard.

‘Tata Motors allowed development in full force,’ said Atul Penkar, fund manager at Birla Sun Life Asset Management in Mumbai, which held $34m worth of Tata Motors stock on Oct. 31, according to the Thomson Streetsight holdings database. JLR now finances itself with the $2bn plus of cash it generates each year. It has paid back its borrowings to Tata and today is propping up the parent company as its core Indian business struggles with sliding sales and market share.

24-hour production

Its Solihull plant, which builds some 150,000 Land Rovers and Range Rovers a year, has moved to three-shift, 24-hour production. Its Halewood plant in the northwest of England is also on three shifts to produce the Evoque. At Solihull, home to Land Rover production since 1948, workers stick bar-coded slips onto the Land Rover Discoveries and Range Rover Sports, identifying their shipping destinations as they roll down the line.

The list includes countries as far as Australia, the United States, Vietnam and, above all, China. In 2005, China accounted for just 1 per cent of JLR’s combined sales. In the quarter that ended in September, it made up 20 percent, making it the biggest export market and nearly overtaking domestic British demand, helped by the sale of some 18,000 Evoques in China this year alone.

JLR sold 71,940 vehicles in China last year, an increase of 71 percent on the previous year. It is now building a factory in China, and has spent some 500 million pounds there on marketing, communications and expanding its reach over the last five years. It opened its 101st Chinese dealership last month.

UK-based managers say Tata’s hands-off approach gave them the freedom to pursue opportunities in emerging markets such as China, taking risks that might have been harder to take when tightly controlled by Ford. Before Tata bought it, JLR was part of Ford’s now-defunct Premier Automotive Group, along with Aston Martin and Volvo.

Ford dictated much of JLR’s product and marketing strategy from its Detroit base, and required JLR to use many of Ford’s systems, set up for a multi-brand global organization, which did not suit a company of JLR’s size.

‘Ford’s policies and procedures manual would be about 3in thick and it’s now about four sides of A4 paper,’ joked Phil Popham, JLR’s global operations director. ‘We were part of a huge automotive company in Ford but we were a very small part of that,’ he said. ‘Tata’s approach is to work with us but to allow us to run our own business with a high level of autonomy.’

[Source: Reuters, via Automotive News]

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

74 Comments

  1. Goldman Sachs report is nothing new on what we already know. Landrover need to bring back the Rover brand and target the mass market segments to complete with VW,BMW, Toyota etc. Well done JLR on achieving the year on year sales increases.

  2. I wonder if JLR is big enough to be sustainable, long-term, without the synergies of association with another car producer. Tata is clearly a great backer, but it will expect good profits which in turn implies a need to continue to invest in new product – an expensive business for a company making 300-400,000 cars a year. Going upmarket helps, because the profits will be higher, but volume will need to be sustained. Alternatively, alliancxes with other car makers will reduce development costs. So its a bit surprising that they’re developing their own engines, unless they are destined to be sold to another company too.

    Seems odd to be saying this at a time when the news is unremittingly good, and I hope I’m wrong.

  3. Er, given some aspects of their recent history, I’m not sure I would rely totally on Goldman Sachs’ opinions. However, interesting about the comments regarding Ford’s systems and procedures – I spent a short time at Aston Martin and found them trying to apply mainstream volume methods to very low volume production and in many ways that’s just inappropriate, produces misleading results and costs a fortune.

    Also worth noting that Tata India’s car production volumes are weak – might have more to learn from JLR (many of whom ex-Rover Group) than many appreciate. In some respects it’s a shame that CityRover development wasn’t allowed to progress further and bear more mutually beneficial fruit at that time.

  4. @1 – The last thing JLR wants to do is target the mass market bloodbath – and certainly not with an albatros like Rover around its neck! – Expansion around its core brands is needed. A smaller Jaguar – rather better than the X-Type – being the top priority. If theres one thing JLR has proved very adept at in recent years its confounding the “expert” and armchair critics who have questioned its strategy.

  5. Jaguar and Land Rover are globally-recognised and now-respected marques in their respective segments: luxury executive cars and luxury and semi-luxury 4X4s; they play around with that recognition at their peril.

    The very last thing JLR needs is to be run by bean-counters and share-hucksters – least of all Goldman Sachs.

    If it ain’t broke…

  6. While they might be very strong at the moment, I don’t think JLR are big enough and ugly enough to look after themselves yet.
    There’s no denying that they have some serious talent at the company, but I don’t think it could be fully exploited without the help of a bigger company-who understands them. We all know there’s gaps on JLR’s range, but cut them some slack. They’ve just launched the XF Sportbrake and the F-Type and have the X-Type replacement in the pipeline. I know there’s some serious work to do yet, but they’re working to address it. The old days of Jag, when they were part of the ‘firm’ when they stuck their head in the sand, seem to be gone.

    As for bringing Rover back, I think that’s a very bad idea right now. I’d love to see it happen, but sadly for most people in the UK Rover=cobblers. Maybe in overseas markets, yes, but not in the UK. I think the memories of MGR’s collapse are still too new, and the Rover badge still carries a whiff of failure here. Wait another 10 years maybe…

  7. This article really does echo some of the sentiments I made in an earlier blog on a similar story relating to the success of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). In other words, there is still a huge amount of work left to be done to turn Jaguar Cars, its products and images around due to failings under previous owners. For example, address the inadeqacies of Jaguar’s current product portfolio, without necessarily emulating the actions of its German rivals of producing cars in certain market sectors which might prove damaging to the kudos of the Jaguar name. To reduce gestation time for Jaguar’s new projects and utilise platforms more productively with additional variants and bodystyles planned from the outset. To be seen as proactive in creating new models that are appropriate for the Jaguar name rather than being merely reactive to market fads/trends.

    More importantly, to enable Jaguar to be an equal partner in the commercial success of JLR rather than the majority of reward coming from Land Rover.

    Above all, JLR itself needs to reduce its cost base further and continue to collaborate with other partners for the design and development of new engines (which JLR could then develop further on its own, as it did with the TDV8 engine) and potentially platforms. This has to be achieved without reducing quality standards (something I am privately fearful of happening).

    The issue of the Rover brand is a contentious one. Is the desire to see it return merely based on sentiment for the name itself, regardless to what vehicles would potentially bear the Viking longship? Or is it based on the ability to see a potential commercial opportunity for the brand’s return which can complement the current presence of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands without undermining them and, just as importantly, is appropriate for the Rover brand itself? By the latter comment I do not mean re-badged offerings of another manufacturer’s cars (think Rover Metro or CityRover) or competing in a lowly sector of the market, which will not aid in establishng and maintaining the aspirational perceptions of the Rover brand.

    Many of the comments about the Rover name are based around its presence and perceptions in the UK market only. They do not consider that it was more widely admired in other market territories. That would clearly need to be considered in any future decision about its long term status.

    Any prospect of the Rover name returning can only be made in the long term when many, if not all, of the other factors noted have been addressed. The same sentiments would equally apply to other marques such as Daimler.

    Let us not forget that a lot has been achieved at JLR in a short space of time (including improving build quality and reliability), but there is still a lot of work to do in the short, medium and long term.

  8. The plain ‘Rover’ name just isn’t upmarket enough. Just remember what sort of dreadfulness that badge was nailed to. The Metro, the 200/25 and the 45, all of which have an image of of pension books & Werther’s Originals. Let it rest, after all it is about prestige nowadays, and Joe public would no doubt rather have a Jag on the driveway than a Rover.

    A Jag SUV is a quite frankly idiotic idea in my view too, especially when it is a rival for the Rangey brand. We had enough infighting back in BL days for crying out loud. A rival for the 3 series is what is urgently needed, to give BMW a kicking, especially as the 3 is in the top ten best sellers. I’m sure if there was the option of a Jag on UK fleet buyers lists, they could well opt for it, especially if it has stonkingly low emissions.

  9. @ Keith Adams:

    And what do many of these bankers actually drive? Sadly it is not a Jaguar or a Land Rover (and probably not another marque made in Britain).

    Every week I read interviews in the Sunday Times Business section with directors and captains of large companies that have done very well out of Great Britain. However, the car they currently drive is usually German and rarely British. Even for UK companies involved in manufacturing. The days of ‘supporting our own’ seem to have long gone.

  10. @ Yorkie. The memories of HGF and cars that go “beep beep beep beep beep” at 2 am are still raw in most people’s minds, and in many cases living history…

  11. Jaguar in particular have a very limited model range. They must urgently bring to market a credible and capable 3 series, A4, C-class rival. This will allow them to significantly increase production and help to lower development costs for later XF replacement.

    Going further forward they may even like to look to a smaller car still a la A class, 1 series or A3. BMW developed the 1 series alongside the 3 series so this helped to lower development costs. A model like this will help to bring in new customers to the brand.

    Jaguar should also look at a more realistically priced sports car. F type is nice but unfortunately it is too expensive vs say a Merc SLK or Boxster.

    Finally it may be worth considering a Jaguar branded SUV but perhaps more along the lines of a soft roader than a proper off roader for which a Land Rover model would work better.

    I’m sure Jaguar have thought of all of these things. They certainly don’t need to bring back some deadbeat brand like Rover. There’s no money in mass market and the cost of developing yet another brand is astronomical. Some kind of alliance with another manufacturer though may be a good idea to help share resources. I’m not quite sure who as there aren’t that many manufacturers who’d see any benefit. JLR in world standards are tiny, yes they are growing but they are still very small.

  12. A Jaguar SUV could work,if they are able to make it significantly different from the RR Sport, it would have to be lower, and much curvier. The danger is that it might end up looking like a Porsche Cayenne, but then Porsche is making a fortune fom that model…

    I don’t get the desire for a new Rover, why complicate things by bringing back a brand that means nothing in the US or China (where it would be confused with Roewe) and has all sorts of image problems in the UK. If you want a new Rover, I suggest buying an Evoque, getting some gaffer tape to cover up the ‘Range’ badge, and hey presto a Rover Evoque!

  13. The image of Rover could be turned around in minutes , hell who would drive a skoda 15 to 20 years ago ?? As for adding more product lines , be very very carefull , Mercedes has lost its exclusive properties by broadening product base , and is perceived as main stream , and effects resale values. JLR needs a modern defender urgently , this is a halo product that is recognised across the globe. A modern double cab variant with style and capability , produced at the right price , with reliability would increase global market share immensely and bring profits.A no brainer, but there seems to be no brainers running JLR for the last 30 years!!

  14. BBMW worked for many years to broaden their range and breath of engineering talent. JLR are in the foothills of a similar process. But the signs are positive and over time they will get there. A degree of independance in powertrain will be key, but well judged collaboration will also be needed in my view.

    Carefully managed the Rover brand could be put to use,look at what VW have achieved with Skoda for example.

  15. If Goldman Sachs are experts on the motor industry, I’m an expert on banking ! It alarms me when BMW are held up as an example to follow , because their strategy of moving into volume seems to me to be doubtful, to put it at its lowest. It may produce short term profit at the expense of long term viability . The effect, in the UK at any rate ( one of their best markets hitherto) has been to make the once aspirational product now something which is close to being sneered at. ( and when did you last see a new 7 series or ,even worse, a new 5 series on UK roads ? ) This is definitely not something which Jaguar needs to copy , and the Range Rover’s success has been founded on progressive and incremental development of a unique set of products . To water this down with mass market appeal again would not preserve the attraction of those products

  16. Jaguar really need a modern equivalent of the Rover/ Triumph 2000, a reasonably priced but quality executive car to taken on the smaller Mercs and BMWs. Remember 40 years ago the Rover and the Triumph more or less owned the two litre executive market and I’m sure a new, smaller Jaguar could take on its German rivals, who are overpriced and from some accounts not as reliable as they should be.
    Yet fair play to Jaguar, the memories of broken down XJ6s and the miserable nationalised era have faded.

  17. The Rover brand should return. Ok the name was a dead duck in Europe but respected in China & the UK with the sizeable trilby brigade. (A necessity on the parcel shelf of a 45 together with a pair of cushions & box of Kleenex.)

    I feel that the happenings of 2005 are far enough away to still be considered brand damaging. Yes HGF may still be in the minds of many but cars such as the 25 were then seen as at the end of their shelf life as new cars. However, HGF aside, a 25 is seen as a space efficient, nippy car that is cheap to buy & own inspite of higher road tax than more modern rivals.

  18. Oh & another thing, many still regard the 75 as the best car Rover ever built although personally I still prefer the 600 even if it does possess only 1.5 NCAP stars!

  19. IM not sure that there are many gaps in the JLR fleet. If they arent careful they will end up with too many variants much like MGR did, every shape of car but less that 200K car per year. I think JLR should introduce only one smaller Jaguar car (rover 200 – BMW 3 series) and leave it at that. If they want mass market then by all means bring back the Rover subbrand. looking at the Land rover end there is 1) evoque 2 / 4 doors, 2)freelander, 3)defender, 4)discovery, 5)RR sport and 6)RR Voque). that is quite a few variants for a small to medium producer. I would think that if was JLR I would be considering dumping both the freelander and the defender (as much i as like the defender), and not replace them. alternatively…look at bringing the Defender replacement from India (or China). I think it is odd, that only the defender and the disco are the only cars from the fleet that can carry 6-7 people. as for the engines, it may be that the engines while being seperate plants may well be technology shared with others (like Ford or Peugot etc). it might also be that they know something(secret) that we dont.

  20. Difficult decision on branding a new, smaller and higher volume vehicle, is difficult. Rover was seen as a premium brand decades back. Research showed it has the best brand equity in the volume side of the BL business, and so the new models were gradually branded as Rover. However, the models were not in the area of the market that was “Rover” teritory. This is what damaged the brand, possibly beyond rescue. If JLR go for high volume, mass-market quality with the Jaguar brand, they risk doing the same.

    A different brand is probably the best move, but “Rover”, despite my fondness for it, is probably not the answer.

    Perhaps JLR could talk to BMW or SAIC and see if they can purchase one of the “British” brands these companies have inherited and are not using – “Triumph”, “Riley” and “Wolseley” were the three that sprang to mind, but there are others too.

  21. I think any other name than Jaguar would fail. Rover still means pensioner specials with head gasket problems to many people, and Triumph, Wolseley and Riley are too far back in the mist of time for buyers under 40. The X Type proved a small Jaguar could work and is still a popular used choice, so logically the new small Jaguar should be called a Jaguar.

  22. Jaguar could build a premium range (hatchback / saloon / coupe / cabriolet / tourer) that sits between the C (BMW 1-Series) and D (BMW 3-Series) segments without going any lower, Land Rover can be used for the SUV models while Tata (up to western standards) or another brand can be used for the A and B segment models.

  23. Rovers pre-2005 were biult by MGR at Longbridge and had K series engines. Any new Rover would be built by JLR using something other than K Series engines.

    How the feck are people still going to think they are going to have dodgy head gaskets? Time to change the record, folks, this constant drone of ‘HGF…HGF…HGF’ is old hat and the resort of those who can think of no other reason to criticise reviving the Rover brand.

    Get over yourselves and move on FFS

  24. JLR need to make smaller and more affordable cars and the only way I can see this happen is if the Rover brand is brought back. I don’t see a problem with this. They have the brand, the designer, and a lot of other former Rover staff. A series of radical, modern yet beautiful and classy Rover concept cars shown at some of the major motorshows would generate huge interest and plenty of car magazine front covers which would help build up the brand. A family of cars in a range of body styles like the 200/400 and a 75 sized car would sell with the right brand management. After all, if Skoda, Kia and Hyundai can sell cars that have all the personality of a kettle, think how much a highly modern JLR developed Rover would sell.

  25. Does anyone think TATA/JLR need our advice or even worse,that of Goldman Sachs on how it runs its affairs or product plans?It is in the black is it not?have a look around you and see the aftermath of bean counting,psychopathic bankers,especially Goldman Sachs.

  26. JLR are doing well but could be doing better.

    They need to stop growing their products out of their market sectors.

    The original Freelander was ideal for many but the new one is too plush, and too expensive.
    JLR now builds not just one big plush 4×4, but three, allowing such as the KIA sorento and similar an open door to steal marketshare.

  27. I really think, though, we should praise Jaguar for being a success and winning JD Power. At last the obsession with sixties retro has been abandoned and the XF looks as modern and exciting as anything from Germany. Should they launch a smaller model, I think they should really go for the BMW 3 series, which is a top ten seller now, and with aggressive marketing, could beat the German car on patriotic and driving grounds.
    Having grown up in an era when Jaguar was riven with strikes, poor products and a collapsing reputation, it’s so nice to see the company doing well and burying the past.

  28. @28,How better could they be doing while we are about to fall into triple dip recession? Kia wont ever give LR sleepless nights,so the company is straight,owes no one.
    The Evoque is a world-wide sell out hit,the waiting lists are as long something very long.They dont need another brand to introduce,it costs too much and there is no room in the market place at all,if anything a brand or two should cease in europe or rationalise brutally to survive,if you can make a vehicle that pays the factory and wages and turn a tidy profit then you have swam the channel.Nice to see these cars are not just for horsey sluts and drug dealers.

  29. What is it with people thinking it’s worth bringing Rover back? The last range of Rovers were truly diabolical cars, that were badly made, and absolutely ancient, and that is what Joe Public remember, as well as the news reports showing the company going BANG in style. The public are badge snobs nowadays, and only the ‘best’ badge will do. Going for the jugular of BMW, with a stonking baby exec, that ‘outBMWs’ the 3 series has to be the way forward as I’ve already said, and yep the Freelander has got a bit ‘too big for it’s boots’, and perhaps the next gen should be aimed at the ‘Datsun Squashedquiche’ etc? Even the top end Disco is close on the bottom Rangey now for executive plushness, and I really don’t see any point to the sport except for footballers wives & people of dubious employment, and now we have the Range Beckham for Mrs Rooney et al…

  30. I agree with Yorkie, with high energy prices and austerity, Jaguar should go straight for the jugular of BMW and take on the 3 series. A quality product, with the usual Jaguar attributes of wood and leather but offering 35-45 mpg economy and priced similar to the 3 series, could be a winner. The X type and the Rover 75 have gone and there is a niceh in the market for a small Jag. Rover is too much of a dead duck now and, rather like reviving the Austin name, would bring back too many bad memories( 75 excepted).

  31. I actually saw a fairly late X Type diesel the other day, and if you had closed your eyes, you would have sworn blind it was a Transit! It was not a quality car, and really needs erasing from people’s minds.

  32. A lot of people here are commenting on what JLR should & shouldn’t do pretty much purely on a UK perspective and an inexperienced one at that. How about what China and other growing markets want? It could well be very different to what’s appealing in the UK.

    I understand that BMW has specifically designed a long wheel base 3 Series for the China market!

    Rover’s dead; deal with it. So is Morris.

  33. #27 You’re correct.

    I think too many comments on here are really what they would like to read about in magazines or see in the show rooms but would have no intention of buying. Do they have access to better customer data?

  34. Of course it is sentimentality that drives my desire to see Rover return. Clearly in the UK things are different, but here in NZ the brand was never poisoned as in its home market. NZers seem to associate Rover with the classic models such as the P5 & P6, the fondness for which rubs off on the 75. My own example of the latter has to date provoked nothing but good reactions from everybody who rides in it, and strikes passengers as an upmarket carriage of much comfort and character. Even the humble 200/25 is still popular on the second hand market here.

    The antipathy towards the brand in the UK is probably too much to overcome, and that nails the coffin firmly shut as far as I can see. But taken in isolation, the Rover badge would likely do well in markets such as NZ, parked on the nose of a suitable sub-Jaguar model.

    Later in the year I will be swinging perilously close to MG6 custody, so I speak as somebody willing to put the boss’s money where my mouth is.

  35. How the hell do people buy Skodas?? This brand world wide had a worse reputation than BL or Rover ever did , and look at where this is today. We went to school in the late 70s and early 80s in NZ and the Scotum was something of an automotive joke !!!!! JLR needs a sub brand and a new Defender . Ever notice how many Rangers , Tritons,Navaras and Hi luxes are traveling on roads around the globe people ???

  36. JLR understand brand stretching and how to avoid stretching too far – Look at what they have done at Land Rover by splitting the brand into “Land Rover” and “Range Rover”.

    Just hope Freelander 3 is less “luxury” and more “rugged & affordable”, just as I hope the new Defender will be.

  37. @ Mike(no.15) I agree, Rover’s image would be instantly reversed with a great looking car and the image that Range Rover/Land Rover would bestow upon it, in the same way that BMW had a miraculous effect on the MINI brand which actually never really existed and the only car it had on which to base itself was by that time over 40 years old, hardly sold, was known to be unreliable, rust prone and deathly unsafe. Didn’t stop MINI becoming quite a tour de force, same with Skoda, even when still selling the Favorit based Felicia, Skoda was already winning new fans, great press and countless awards. Remember that the Felicia won WhatCar awards for almost it’s entire production run. Rover would be a different league, the car needs to almost evoque a certain LR/RR quality but in a car shape, something people can accept that only the Riover badge is suitable for but with clear links, aspirational if you like. This is why BMW and Mercedes try to cover every segment these days, you start out with a 1 series as a company car, you aspire to the 3 series, in a few years you will probably get a 5 series or one of the new breed of crossovers they have. LR/RR are different in that their brand is so strongly linked to a particular niche (and all the stronger a brand for that) so they could just as easily go down the Rover route. Let’s not forget where Land Rover came from, and especially Range Rover. This would be like coning full circle and executed properly could be a massive winner.

  38. I know the Rover brand was tarnished in the UK, but they still had a pretty decent market share by today’s standards even up to the end (look at Nissan/Renault/PUG etc). Someone was buying them, and they bought them even when they were clearly long past their sell by date. I stand by the fact that a new quality product backed by a strong parent brand could do well here, and without overly stretching the LR/RR brands which could only lessen integrity

  39. @ Francis Brett 27. Agreed. Taking advice from Goldman Saches would be like taking relationship advice from Charlie Sheen.

    @ Paul Taylor. It dosen’t matter if a new Rover would have no relationship to MGR cars. Most people would see anything with a viking ship badge, never mind if its made 1998 or 2014 and say “Well that’s going to be c**p”, and the sad fact is, most people don’t like Rovers. The public took an vendetta against Rover, with Clarkson leading the charge. If they were brought back now they’d be shouted down in no time, and JLR would be left looking very silly (and possibly a bit broke)…as for HGF, yes the K-series would be far, far away but would Joe Public know that? Or even care? “Ha ha ha, do you keep a spare head gasket in the glovebox?” would be the first joke your mates cracked when you turned up to work in one. Its all about brand perception and what’s attached to the name. “Failure” is attached to the Rover name and will be for a while yet…

  40. I’m really happy for JLR, with the reigns slackened these two companies are much more free to realise projects and vehicles suited to them.
    My only fear is that without the constraints placed on JLR within Ford they could end up going down expensive dead-ends and not able to source/produce parts at the sort of costs Ford could offer.
    In other words, these companies could end up becoming ever less profiatble and ultimately either teeter on the brink of bankruptcy or start producing “safe” cars with the car-buying public deserting them as a result.
    I’d much prefer them to suceed though.

  41. Here in the U.S. most people do not even remember the Rover name, if brought back it would appear to be a new brand or just a part of Land Rover for most under the age of 60. (Those of us old enough to remember associate the Rover brand primarily with the 2000TC, as it was the only Rover usually seen on American streets back in the day.)

  42. Given the majority of the cars JLR sell are NOT in the UK then using the Rover badge would do no harm.. Unlike building a new small Jag.. that thinking was what destroyed the Rover badge in the first place, taking it from apriational upper market cars owned and driven by royalty and A-list celebrities to just another ford alternative

  43. @Ford Prefect

    Yes, well Ford made Jaguar turn out the X-Type, which led to the first ever Jag estate and the first ever Jag diesel.
    I couldn’t believe it at the time, simply decreasing the stock of a “Premium” brand (the reason they scrapped the “Granada concept”, i.e. to have an “upmarket range” without the Ford association; like Toyota) and then set about sabotaging the brands exclusive image (madness).

    I think a relaunch of one of the old marques could work, why not resurect Triumph?

  44. @ Jamie:

    The Triumph name is owned by the BMW Group, not Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

    @ Others:

    JLR own the Jaguar, Land Rover, Range Rover, Rover, Daimler and Lanchester marques. Morris (as someone has already mentioned) is owned by SAIC.

  45. BMW owns Triumph for starters, along with Riley etc…And the X type bombed because it was a cheap & nasty Mondeo based pile of rubbish. The Rover brand will equal commercial suicide, plain & simple, and a decent baby Jag will have to be on a rear wheel drive based platform, not front, like the X was.

  46. @42,TATA is a 100 billion dollar company,its not just a industrial corporation,its finance,facilities manpower even running council back office’s.Ford isnt even breakfast for them.Trust me,do you think they got where they are today through listening to snakes in suits and other bankers etc?they are an astute firm with strong governance,you need’nt worry what direction this company goes in,only the right one !
    The trouble with the X type was it was too retrograde in its design language,whatever Mondeo was a excellent drive,better steering and weight of steering than a E46 BMW,in any case,it was loosly based on the Mondeo,even the bulkhead differed,the 4X4 X types was good to drive too.

  47. Hiya

    First time to use this site. Excellent. Just to let you know Yorkie, I am responsible for the maintenance of a very large fleet of cars, all various makes/models and would have to say that the Jaguar X-Type is vastly superior in quality/reliability to Passat, BMW 3 series and Mercedes C-Class. When we are replacing cars, we offer them and the X-Type is always the car that is snapped up, especially by those who had been driving them. I hope that when Jaguar finally replace the X-Type that it is as good to drive, use or own as the original.

  48. Hi Padraic 🙂

    I think the X-Type was a great car, but people seemed to have a problem not with the car itself, more that it wasn’t a “proper” Jag. And I have to agree with them, it’s even front wheel drive. (Unless you opt for the 4×4 version).
    But they do seem well liked by the people who drive them.
    If you want my take on what makes a “proper” Jag, read this 😉 http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/blogs/blog-jaguars-identity/

    You may also like: http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/cars/jaguar/x-type-jaguar/

  49. The problem with the X-type was the styling. Land Rover can get away with a 2WD Freelander, because it looks and feels the part, and the Evoque feels expensive and prestige, despite being as Ford based as the X-type.

  50. Had the X-Type been launched without any reference to Ford or it’s underpinnings people would not have given it the hard time it got, because it was actually a great car, image aside, what killed it’s reputation was the constant references to it just being a Mondeo. Thankfully the XF has such a strong image that people are happy to forget that it is actually still heavily based on the S-Type, launched back inn 1998 which was itself based on a Lincoln….

  51. @ James.

    “Thankfully the XF has such a strong image that people are happy to forget that it is actually still heavily based on the S-Type, launched back inn 1998 which was itself based on a Lincoln….”

    The XF and the S-Type are based on the Ford/Jaguar DEW platform. It was designed as a joint effort between Ford’s engineers and Jaguars. Yes, the Lincoln LS uses the same platform but it was always intended to be used for a Jaguar.

  52. @ Frankie, I agree, but in the early days much was made of the XF’s underpinnings, the truth is it matters not a jot, and the car managed to divert any attention from those facts and the press have remained hushed about it since. However, the X-Type sadly never managed that feat and I believe it damaged it’s image throughout. If the car is good enough it can carry itself and it’s badge with it, a Rover badged LR/RR car family could do the same without damaging LR/RR’s own image. The XF almost single handedly turned around the image of Jaguar in a matter of months from failing pipe and slippers brand to cutting edge, sporty and desirable. Exactly what the Rover badge needs and the benefit to JLR is they get to expand their reach without ruining either of their cash cows. The alternative is the TATA badge… need I say more? 😉

  53. The X has become a banger in record time for a Jag, especially leggy diesels, as they share the same injector faults as their cousin the Mondeo, and no matter how much you with the rose tinted specs wish, Rover will NEVER return as a separate brand because it imploded so spectacularly, which was aided by the truly awful, and massively overpriced CityRover, which was made by TATA!

  54. If TATA wishes to be a global player it needs to fill the glaring gap in its’ range between the top line Tata and bottom of the range JLR product. I think it is only sensible to look at Rover to do that and really cannot understand the ‘Rover bashing’ histrionics above.
    I have a 2004 75 and it is a lovely car. Most people I know think it is a terrible shame what happened to MGR. They appreciate the story would be very different if Rover had the backing of a big powerful automotive group, as JLR does. In the 1990s Rover was doing really well in Europe, many are still around, especially in Italy.
    That said, it isn’t easy to relaunch a brand. I think Tata would like to relaunch themselves, but I can’t see that working.
    Personally I feel that all two wheel-drive Land and Range Rovers should be badged as Rovers as they are not true LRs/RRs. Also it would quickly re-establish a quality Rover indentity. The styling of any subsequent car would follow the RR format rather than the 75 and thus old negative memories left by the wayside.
    I think many of us would like this to happen as we simply can’t afford a JLR new or second-hand whereas a Rover is within grasp and could again be aspirational.

  55. Listen to you lot who want Rover back. Look at why the firm went tits up in the first place, and it wasn’t the management entirely to blame

    1) The cars were ancient, 2)The cars were expensive, 3) They were hopelessly made, and 4) There were airfields full of REGISTERED unsold stock to make Rover look like they were actually selling cars, when in reality they weren’t. Rover is a brand NOBODY wants, and hasn’t wanted since the late 1990’s, which is a sad fact.

    Rover’s death started whilst BAe were calling the shots, and very quickly BMW saw the company was dying a death and they had been suckered, so they kept the only decent bit of the company. If they hadn’t sold off MGR, BMW could well have been driven to bankruptcy by Longbridge.

    Rover is NOT an aspirational brand. I hate to say it, but its BMW & Mercedes that are aspirational brands nowadays, and Rover was NEVER anywhere near these 2 German brands.

  56. I am getting rather tired with some of the insults I am reading relating to the demise of the Rover name, so this will be my last post on this particular topic.

    Some of the comments posted are based on a rather narrow perspective and are confusing the Rover car brand with the wider problems of the company itself that used the Rover name, which the media was rather lazy in referring to as simply “Rover”, rather than “MG Rover” or before that “Rover Group”. Likewise when speculating when the Rover name started to loose its aspirational status (in the UK market).

    There clearly needs to be a greater understanding of the differences between the issues of the Rover marque itself and those of the company itself.

    I am quite sure the well qualified Jaguar Land Rover personnel working in the fields of brand management, PR and product planning are more than capable of identfying whether the Rover brand has a potential role to play within their commercial actions in the future. Although I am an enthusiast of the Rover name, I think my Post 7 comments highlight that I am not blinkered by the name or the huge task that would be involved in resurrecting it. At the same time I am also aware of the brand’s achievements and perceptions outside the four walls of the UK.

    Some of the comments on here are not based on looking at this wider picture or some of the published academic research looking at the demise of the company (BL/ARG and MG Rover Group) in general, rather than just the loss of a brand. One recent comment looking at the run up and aftermath of the events of April 2005 also fails to identify the same ‘issues’ also affected the MG marque. I should know as I own an ‘airfield’ MG ZR registered in early 2007.

    As already mentioned, I won’t be making another comment on this very topic. I do have every faith that Jaguar Land Rover will continue to make the appropriate decisions regarding future product direction, synergies it works with and also the brands it choses to utilise in the marketplace. I am also very proud of the company’s achievements to date, particularly with the start of rejuvenating Jaguar and the ongoing success of Land Rover. Long may it continue.

  57. The trouble is there are far too many post 50 people thinking Rover will make a comeback. I’m sorry, but anyone under that age doesn’t actually give two tosses about Rover or MG for that matter to be brutally frank ,simply because of the brand’s old fart image and the cars being basically sub par and ancient. BMW is where it is nowadays for a small/mid sized saloon, and sadly that is how it will stay. Jag may get a slice of it if they make something exceptional, but going by past form it’s going to be a massive uphill struggle for them. TATA might do OK if they launch a range of trucks in the UK, as really there is bugger all at the bottom end now, as Renault/Volvo & Daf trucks are all basically the same underneath. Their Loadbeta was surprisingly popular, and fairly rugged, and dirt cheap…So perhaps a modernised version of that range?

  58. Hiya

    Really enjoying this site as a new user. Its always interesting to read different, passionate and sometimes yes, rose-tinted views on various cars.

    Purely as an individual who enjoys his cars and is lucky working in the fleet industry to be able to drive regularly every make/model/varient, and as I am concerned only with reliability, comfort, value for money and resale value, my view of the Jaguar X-Type is unchangeable. Since sending my first comments, I took some time to check our driver/maintenace reports and can confirm that contrary to popular belief, the X-Type is definitely a superior car to 3 series, C Class and Lexus I220. Very little goes wrong and yes with higher mileage the injectors do need replacement but this is actually no different to other diesels. In fact from our records the most reported repairs/replacements have been 3 series Diesel and VW Passat 2.0 Diesel. Our reports tell us that the X-Type is only reorted as poor to average for urban refinement. They also seem to be much easier to sell on and thankfully, we are very pleased with resale value. In fact 07/08/09 models are most sought after. I even have had our local dealers representing Honda, Lexus, BMW and VW enquire about availability. As I right this I am in fact thinking about replacing our own family car with an estate 2.2 Diesel.

  59. @ Frankie 41

    I am quite sure the motoring press, or the company themselves, would be more than capable of letting Joe Public know that a new engine bore no relation to the K Series.

    I think we need to credit JLR, and motor-savvy members of the great British public, with a degree of sense in being able to work out the merits of a new car, whatever badge is attached to it

  60. Yorkie,you talk like BMW was stupid enough to be “suckered” in,you can hear that bullshit in any old boozer,Rover wasnt on the brink of collapse when BMW bought the company and it may not have been setting the sales charts alight but nontheless it was a viable company in its own right,that it wasnt managed properly sits squarely at BMW’s door,the 200,400 and 600 were good cars,and the 75 possibly the best of all.Why did BMW reheat the 200 and 400? they made them too retro,so they never stood a chance with anything else,they should have been massively reworked of had a ground up new car,modern,distinctive.MGR pulled off a coup when the zeds came out by the way.
    @61, The 2.2D X types were much better engined cars,but the by then they had the “taint” no-one wants a car with that noisey diesel with its horrible whirl noise.Ive done too many engine rebuilds on these due to worn injectors bending con-rods to have my mind changed.

  61. @ Leslie comment 38

    All Land Rovers and Range Rovers are branded Land Rover. Check out the tailgate badges on the next Range Roevr you see

  62. Re: Rovers Return….

    Small point but possibly relevant, in the USA Range Rovers and Land Rovers are referred to as “Rovers” much in the same way Rolls-Royces are “Rolls”. BTW before any pedant gets on their beardy high horse, I am fully aware that proper RRs are “Royces”!

    I see no problem with reintroducing Rover on the global market, especially China. After all, if it goes tits up the Jaguar and LR brands walk away relatively untarnished.

  63. Have had almost 300 X-Type 2.0 and 2.2 diesels since 2003 thru a fleet. All have been well serviced and all above average mileage annually. Have never had to rebuild an engine. Only faults are injectors(usual on any diesel car), some have needed clutch flywheels but little else. Not the most refined of engines particularly in urban driving but certainly the most reliable and least expensive to run. Rear anti-roll bar rubbers and dash top vents clip are only other items we have needed to change.

  64. @66,maybe you was lucky,we had several hundred mondeos,with this “Puma” engine and always carried out pump re-learns and pilot injection corrections every major service,many flywheel failures caused rough running correction via PCM and ultimately injector replacement because those piezo injectors cannot be re-manned,we was glad to see the back of them,with the Ford/PSA DV16 engines we rarely see them,perhaps an odd chuffing injector seal,even the econetic 1.8″lynx”engined cars are good news.

  65. Nobody berated the A4 for being based on a VW, so why do people think that the X-Type was a bad car for being based on a better-than-a-VW Mondeo?

    The X-Type was not in the slightest a bad car. In fact, it was very good. However, it’s styling was aimed at older people who bought XJs, not younger people who bought 3 Series & A4s. Furthermore, diesel was only offered later on FWD whereas V6 2.5 & 3.0 was only offered on 4WD.

    The problem was mainly that this is what Ford thought Jaguar should be (same with S-Type) and not what Jaguar thought Jaguar should be (i.e. XF)

    @64 – Leslie @ 38 is correct. RR is becoming a seperate brand to LR

  66. @ 68

    @38 stated in past tense (mildly pedantic I know) hence my rsponse, and the 62 plate car in the header photo has an LR badge. I will admit I hadn’t read anywhere that this was going to happen.

    It does make sense I suppose as they are perceived as performing separate functions (LR a bit more agriculatural than RR) and are targeted at different demographics, despite the Disco and Freelander being closer to an RR than they have been in previous incarnations

  67. @Yorkie
    You have no idea.. Rover outside the UK is still a saleble name. Even more so in the USA. In fact in the US the name rover means anything made by landrover. Even in germany it’s still a respected name, and the same goes for france and most of the rest of europe. China should not have any issues with it either as its unknown there. So apart from one relativly small market (the UK) the name is usable, and so why not

  68. And if JLR are going to build a re-placemnt for the X-type to compete with the 3-Series they would be far better off badging it as a Rover. If it fails then the Jaguar name will be safe, and there would be no risk of it moving down market. And as long as the car is not let anywhere near the nurburgring during development, rides like a Jag, and not like a horse drawn cart (or BMW) and the quality is right then it will suceed. If the UK press can see beyond track times then it may even work here

  69. Re: bringing back the Rover name Looking at some of the comments on here about the reputation of Rovers, I’m not surprised they were unpopular! Not even on a Rover-based forum can people stop cracking unfair jokes! The fact is, few ordinary buyers care what make of car they drive so long as it sounds fairly mainstream and does what is required of it. Rover did this successfully for many years; it failed because its models were becoming dated so they no longer went as well as rivals, but weren’t cheaper. HGF won’t be an issue – most people know nothing about engines and on the basis of actual figures, Rovers were not at all unreliable overall. As for its old peoples’ image – well, we’re always going to have old people, aren’t we? People’s tastes change as they grow up. Because a 17-year-old kid wants a Corsa VXR now doesn’t mean he’ll still want one when he’s 56 and has 50k to spend on some new wheels. Hardly anyone under the age of 50 actually drives a Mercedes and they still keep going.

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