• Feb 25, 2006

Jaguar must “find a way to fund its own future or face the consequences."

That’s what Ford Motor Co. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford, Jr. told journalists in Detroit about Ford's “Big Cat." And the consequences? While the article didn’t state if Ford, Jr. was asked that question, a high level director did answer and said Blue Oval may put the luxury marque into “exit mode," either shutting it down or selling it.

Ford purchased Jaguar in 1989, and the brand is part of Ford’s Premier Auto Group (PAG) which includes Aston Martin and Volvo. But Jaguar’s S-Type, X-Type, and XJ sedans are among the lowest selling vehicles in PAG. Ford hasn't given up on the band just yet, having infused $2.1 billion last year after the brand lost $745 million in 2004.

Newly appointed Ford of Europe chairman Lewis Booth has thus embarked on an ambitious plan to preserve the Big Cat's remaining lives. Besides touting the new XK coupe (pictured) and convertible, Jaguar is planning to sell fewer but well-equipped vehicles, making Jags more exclusive. This is similar to Porsche, whose vehicles make the highest profit per each one sold.

Other changes include updating Jaguar’s manufacturing facilities and modernizing its models’ sheet-metal.

With Jaguar's rich heritage and evocative design language, it's been frustrating for company officials and marque afficianados to see the Big Cat falter so badly for so many years. It is hard to see the Blue Oval shuttering the brand, but we wouldn't rule out Dearborn eventually seeking out a suitor if the latest capital infusion fails.

[Source: The Sydney Morning Herald]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, if he shut down Jaguar, Bill Ford Jr. would go from being a crappy Ford CEO to being a catastrophic one. Don't you just hate it when people inherit positions of power simply because of something their dad did?
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Most things Ford touches go straight to hell. Jaguar has improved!"

      Wow - what an unqualified statement. Volvo is doing very well. Mazda is having a resurgence. Land Rover is back from the brink. Aston is at least relevant once again. Things are not ALL bad at Ford.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Another problem for Jag is that it takes a huge amount of money and engineering resources to play in the luxury segment these days. If Ford isn't willing to put up the money, it's going to have to sell Jaguar to someone who will--likely VW or BMW.

      Jaguar definitely won't go the way of Olds--it has way too much positive equity for that. In other words, it's not like Saab. In the right hands it would do very well.
      • 8 Years Ago
      LOL, all that matters for these brands is their image. A lot of the brands that the domestics own just probably can't recover- who really cares about a Pontiac, or a Lincoln, or a Mercury? Jaguar is one of the few brands that american ownership hasn't ruined. It still has a soul and character. They should drop the x and s-types and just sell the XJ and XK using a Porsche business model. If they make profit there, then they can think about expanding. Jaguar has a huge advantage, in that while many of the people who are in the market for a large luxury sedan wouldnt put an Acura, Infiniti, or Cadillac in the same category as a Mercedes, BMW, or even Audi or Lexus, most people would be readily willing to compare a Jaguar to a Mercedes. The XJ Super V8 kinda kicks ass.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If it must go, lets hope they sell Jag and don't sink it. There are some us former and present owners who love the classic style and appreciate the evolution instead of revolution in its stylng and engineering i.e. Ford's tremendous improvementg in the marque's build quality. On the other hand, the current XJ has the the profile of a Volvo which, I believe accounts for the tremendous loss of sales.This isn't scientific, just the opinion of every XJ fan I've spoken to (including many dealers).
      • 8 Years Ago
      Most things Ford touches go straight to hell. Jaguar has improved!

      I'm not sure major, expensive redesigns are required. The infrastructure should be in pretty good shape by now. The Jaguar name still has terrific cachet. I'm confident if Ford keeps polishing and refining this jewel it will sell.

      For certain, Ford has to make a firm commitment to Jaguar's future. Nobody is going to invest in an expensive car that may be discontinued next month.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think Ford is in the strongest position for resurgence....it's only been the last few years I've come to appreciate Jaguar. I had a chance to drive a new XJ and it is not only gorgeous, but a solid piece of granite. I really wish I had the 75k....

      Volvo is good, Mazda is good, Lincoln and Mercury are slowly rebounding (although new some new, distinctive product...). Once Ford replaces the Focus with the euro version and tarts up the appearance (and engine) of the 500, they'll be there. Much better shape, market wise, than GM or Chrysler, in my opinion....
      • 8 Years Ago
      I hate to say it, but why not throw in a crossover or and SUV into the lineup. It seems like that might help to get more footsteps into the dealers. Until the very very late 90's I always thought Jag's were kind of ugly.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You cant kill Jaguar its just such an icon. I dont want jaguar prancing around aimlessly under the ownership of some worthless japanese econobox, or making a profit through writing history books about when it used to be selling cars rather actually selling them. Howcome aston martin isnt going the same way hmm??
      • 8 Years Ago
      thank you Ford for keeping the Jaguar marque alive when U.K. couldn't keep their car companies running. it's someone else's turn to dump billions into their poorly run company. who would like to be the deep pockets for the old Brit next? Ford knows cars and too bad the Jaguar management couldn't do better with all those green american dollars. dump them i say, and focus on Ford.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Cut Jaguar but keep Mercury and Lincoln?

      Ford really is run by idiots. If anything the resources completely wasted on Mercury and Lincoln would go a long way to making better Jaguars.

      Jaguar is more of a match for Cadillac and other real luxury brands than Mercury or Lincoln will ever be.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The problem with Jaguar is the low volumes in a market segment & price range that customers won't accept borrowing from the Ford parts bin. To change a Jaguar low volume model over requires as much or more effort than a high volume Ford model. They have two things to do or dump Jaguar.
      Figure out how to effectively manufacture at lower volumes like GM did with Soltice -AND- set up a dealer network to sell all the Premier vehicles (except Volvo) under one roof to get the exposure and volumes up.