• Aug 24, 2006
Fresh from his company's record-breaking performance on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Sir Anthony Bamford was probably walking on air when he began his interview with Inside Line. The owner of JCB, purveyor of all things earth moving, candidly admitted his desire to purchase Jaguar from its current owner, Ford.
Why the bold proposition? According to the article, Sir Bamford would gladly take the ailing luxury mark off of Ford's hands as long as Land Rover doesn't come with it. He contends that Land Rover is still a commodity, with the potential to make serious profit, whereas Jaguar is arguably a company in dire straits. Although that doesn't make a strong case for Bamford's plan, one gets the impression that the multi-millionaire wants to bring Jaguar back to its former glory by eliminating the bureaucratic hurdles that many contend are the cause of its current ills.

That attitude, we're sure, is the product of a family owned and operated company and with that attention to detail, in addition to Bamford's own knowledge of vehicle production, this could very well be the most compelling offer yet for Jaguar.

[Source: Inside Line]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      gkz
      • 8 Years Ago
      So what would be wrong with reducing Jag's production numbers and restoring the emphasis on racing? This would essentially be a company with the same philosophy as Ferrari, but with the customer focus on luxury rather than sport. #3 and #6 are exceedingly negative for no good reason; as 11 points out, Bamford is obviously one of the most passionate car guys in the world. He's clearly also an astute businessman. Given the necessary financing, I don't see why he couldn't turn Jag into something special again.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #13 True, but I stand by what I said about mergers and alliances in general. However, you maybe right about Jag. Too small.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Just sell all ailing brands to the Chinese and be done with it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well the best and most profitable auto companies in the world have gone it alone - Toyota, BMW and Porsche (which actually own other brands but have not merged with anyone). The reason for their success may even be the fact that they decided to go it alone. Focus on organic growth is essential for success. Looking for partnerships and mergers all the time takes the focus off what matters. What is the reason for the existance of a company if it automatically assumes it can't survive without help? The fact is that mergers and alliances are acts of desperation. It like deciding to buy a new car instead of getting a divorce when a marriage gets sour. A company looking for a merger is a company that has convinced itself it's doomed. A self fullfilling prophecy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Has anyone seen the Victory By Design TV series? If so, you might have noted that about half the cars in each episode were loaned by Bamford. Dude is a true car guy, whatever else you might say about him.
      • 8 Years Ago
      .."Hundreds of identical earth movers" is hardly an accurate description of JCB's extensive product line, and to consider that they have survived, even thrived in a global industry conquored by Asian heavy industrialists, is testament to the skill of JCB management.

      A cult? Perfect I say. Every luxury auto brand is a cult of sorts. That it permiates the rank and file employess can only add to a common sense of purpose and urgency - EXACTLY what diluted, demoralized and destitute Jaguar needs!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I wonder.....does he paint his earthmoving equipment bright yellow so people can see it at a distance in the dust.....or because they look like Caterpillar, arguably the pre-eminant earthmoving equipment manufacturer in the world?
      • 8 Years Ago
      #9 TOYOTA!!! :)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Jeff,
      Thanks for the very informative post – it’s scary that these cult/companies exist, probably even scarier to compete against them.

      My guess is that we’ll be seeing a lot of Bamford in the news going forward. Big ego, lots of money, interest in carmaking and a belief that he (alone) truly understands Jaguar and what it takes to bring it back to glory.

      I totally agree with Jeff’s point that Ford has done a lot of good for Jaguar. Yes, the play for volume behind the Mondeo-based X-type was a bad idea. But remember what Ford actually bought – a couple of factories that hadn’t seen investment in decades, a supplier base with no concept of quality control, zero product pipeline, a terrible dealer network, etc.

      Ford basically rebuilt Jaguar from scratch, investing billions of dollars in the process. Unfortunately, the return has been elusive, hence the interest in selling.

      The first report of a buyer – Hyundai – made no sense. That company is very top-down in terms of management style, and with the CEO shuttling between jail, the hospital and his lawyer’s office, there is no way Hyundai is in a position to buy Jaguar.

      The best home for Jaguar in terms of turning it into a profitable carmaker is a company that is already in the sport sedan business. Rather than develop its own, Jaguar would take existing platforms and add those elements that make a Jaguar a gorgeous Jaguar – great leather seats, wood cockpits, old world styling. This whittles the field down to BMW, Toyota, DCX, VW and Nissan.

      Already in the midst of a management change, BMW is unlikely to make a bid – they already had terrible experience with their own “English Patient,” Rover. Toyota doesn’t buy carmakers – they don’t need to, and besides they are afraid of the bad press they’d get for reducing headcount, which is inevitable for Jaguar.

      DCX is not in a position today to effect a good merger integration – Chrysler has a product problem disguised as an inventory problem and Mercedes isn’t far enough along on its recovery to rescue Jaguar.

      VW is similarly hamstrung, and the synergies are weaker, given that Jaguars are traditionally RWD, and the Audi platforms are AWD/FWD. It would take some doing to convince traditional Jaguar drivers to buy a car that is a Passat under the skin (although it certainly works for Bentley!). But Porsche is the real wild card here, considering its 20% ownership of VW. They may just be feeling cocky enough to take on Jaguar, especially as it would help justify the expense in engineering the Panamera platform.

      Finally Nissan/Renault. They are obviously game for an alliance/merger, and I’d love to see the next Jaguar S-type built off the M45’s platform and an E-type successor built of the 300Z’s. But the French are nervous about taking on any potential liabilities, and one thing Jaguar is is a potential liability. Ghosn’s ego and persuasiveness could get a deal done, but I think he is smart enough to see that this isn’t a money-maker and pass.

      I guess this means that major carmakers are unlikely to make a strong play for Jaguar. Which opens the door for big ego millionaires who think they know how to run a carmaker better than the company that invented modern carmaking.

      Sorry to ramble.
      • 8 Years Ago
      SherbornSean,

      The Continental Bentleys ride on a variation of the D platform, which is three steps up from the Passat's, but I do see your point. VW would be a poor choice for a brand like Jaguar, especially since they already have Audi for the sport-luxury segment.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If JCB was to buy Jaguar, look out Audi, as your sole rein in diesel racing and stuffing those engines in luxury vehciles will have a serious competitor.

      I think Jaguar is in a much better place since Ford bought them, but I don't think Ford has the time, money or desire to give Jaguar the attention it needs. It would be very interesting to see what JCB could do with Jaguar.

      I find it strange that they wouldn't want Land Rover, I'd love to see more powerful diesels stuffed into the engine bays and offered in the U.S.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What's cool is that Bamford will bring tradition back to Jag. Here's what he said:

      1. "[Jaguar founder] Sir William Lyons was a friend of my father's and he was involved in most aspects of the plant. JCB is run in a similar way. Although we are not in the car business, we are familiar with every aspect of lean manufacturing and worldwide marketing," he said. "All our senior management are involved in every aspect of the business. There isn't an enormous structure and bureaucracy."

      2. He also criticized Ford's decision to cancel plans for a Porsche Boxster-rivaling F-type roadster and suggested that Jaguar should return to the racetrack.
      "Racing is Jaguar's background. It helps sell cars and it gives the company a youthful image," he said. "Twenty years ago a Jaguar was an aspirational choice."

      This guy is the best solution both for Jag and Ford. Ford will have less problem selling Land Rover w/o Jag.
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