Opinion

“JLR desperately needs a range of smaller cars and SUVs”

Could Jaguar Land Rover become the latest brand to join the PSA empire? Mike Rutherford thinks it would be a good idea for both parties

Opinion - Jaguar E-Pace

We’re barely a month into 2020, yet it’s already clear that this’ll be The Year of the Carlos. The first one (Ghosn) is the Brazilian-born bad boy who, until recently, was the cockily confident godfather of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. But after jumping £9million bail (that must’ve hurt) and going on the run to sunny Beirut, he currently holds the dubious title of world’s most famous international fugitive. Never has a global motor industry executive fallen so far, so fast, so hard, so bloody painfully.   

The other Carlos (Tavares) is the Portuguese superstar who enjoys life as the charming and calming, less-is-more chairman of Groupe PSA. The 61-year-old Portugeezer is currently in the running for the title of world’s greatest car industry chief, not least because he’s the architect of the merger between PSA and FCA. His future is as bright as Ghosn’s is grim.

As the father and figurehead of the new family, Tavares knows his four senior clan members are his natural children: Peugeot and Citroen, followed by adoptees Fiat and Chrysler. But almost a dozen more sister brands – including Abarth, Aixam, Alfa Romeo, Dodge, DS, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Ram, Vauxhall and others, possibly – also demand his parental skills and experience. And the wealthy Chinese grandparents (Dongfeng) need a little TLC, too.

A pair of Brits is greatly helping Tavares. Mike Manley, the current FCA CEO, is one. The other is Linda Jackson, who in recent days moved from her Citroen CEO role to an intriguing new one that will seek to clarify and support “differentiation” of the PSA brands. Already, the group has too many small-to-medium cars going head to head with each other.

Look at those competing Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall superminis, medium family cars and SUVs, and it’s clear that some have to go, or at least be separated out to give a wider spread of products and prices, to a larger group of potential buyers.

The Peugeot marque surely has to promote itself into borderline premium territory; DS must raise its game, too. This could leave Citroen in the middle and Vauxhall the bargain- basement division of the PSA empire, right? “No, Vauxhall wouldn’t be that,” a senior PSA director personally assured me. So Fiat? Or Citroen then? “Can’t speak for Fiat, but Citroen wouldn’t be that either,” insisted the director representing the Paris-based empire.

It’s undeniable that the new PSA-FCA giant is a world leader in terms of knowledge of and (massive) capacity to build world-class small-to-medium sized vehicles with great little engines. But what about a premium brand, beyond Maserati and Alfa? Well, JLR desperately needs a range of smaller, yet still upmarket, circa-£25k cars and SUVs. Do you see where I’m coming from? Sure, Jaguar and Land Rover should design the exteriors for their entry-level models. But maybe rampant Peugeot and respected sister firm Jeep could take care of the bits beneath the skin.

Carlos Tavares and his right-hand woman, Linda Jackson, are the ideal pair to strike such a manufacturing arrangement with JLR. Do not rule it out.

Do you think JLR would flourish under PSA's guidance? Let us know your thoughts below...

Recommended

Land Rover launches new MY23 Defender and new limited edition Discovery
New Land Rover Discovery - front
Land Rover

Land Rover launches new MY23 Defender and new limited edition Discovery

New Hard Top variants of new Land Rover Defender arrive alongside highly equipped Discovery special
14 Oct 2021
'Bolloré's strategy is already having a good impact on Jaguar Land Rover'
Opinion JLR Thierry Bollore
Opinion

'Bolloré's strategy is already having a good impact on Jaguar Land Rover'

Steve Fowler says JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré's new approach is working wonders
24 Jun 2021
Exclusive: Jaguar’s luxury reinvention to start from £100k
Thierry Bollore - Jaguar I-Pace
Jaguar

Exclusive: Jaguar’s luxury reinvention to start from £100k

New boss Thierry Bollore reveals that Jaguar will be reinvented as a luxury car brand to take on Bentley, with the design of a new family already sign…
22 Jun 2021
Best 60s cars: the 30 greatest cars of the 1960s
Best cars of the 60s - header
Best cars & vans

Best 60s cars: the 30 greatest cars of the 1960s

The swinging sixties brought a vast array of unforgettable cars that would establish the path of the industry for decades to come. We pick our top 30 …
21 Jun 2021

Most Popular

New 2022 Range Rover: Land Rover's flagship SUV to be revealed tomorrow
Range Rover leak - front
Land Rover Range Rover

New 2022 Range Rover: Land Rover's flagship SUV to be revealed tomorrow

The new Range Rover will be officially revealed tomorrow, although leaked images have already appeared on social media
25 Oct 2021
New Kia EV6 2021 review
Kia EV6 front tracking
Kia EV6

New Kia EV6 2021 review

With a sporty drive, 300-plus miles of range and plenty of tech - could the new Kia EV6 be one of the best electric cars on sale?
19 Oct 2021
New Hyundai Ioniq 6 targeting Tesla Model 3 with 311-mile range
Hyundai Ioniq 6 - watermarked
Hyundai

New Hyundai Ioniq 6 targeting Tesla Model 3 with 311-mile range

The new Hyundai Ioniq 6 saloon will join the Ioniq 5 in the brand’s all-electric line-up and our exclusive image previews how it could look
21 Oct 2021