‘Independence is admirable, but it’s holding JLR back’

Deputy editor John McIlroy thinks Jaguar Land Rover could benefit from a change of owner

Opinion - Ralf Speth

Senior car industry figures were in London last week for the annual two-day Financial Times Future of the Car Summit. It’s a chance for leading CEOs to get their company message across – or, in the case of Jaguar Land Rover boss Dr Ralf Speth, an opportunity to deny rumours that his company could soon be bought by French giant PSA, which already owns Peugeot, Citroen, DS and Opel/Vauxhall.

But when it came to the crunch question on whether he was aware that talks had taken place between PSA and JLR’s current owner Tata, Speth’s response was limp at best. “There are rumours,” he acknowledged, “but I cannot really confirm any of these discussions.”

Jaguar Land Rover posts £3.6 billion annual loss

There is an increasing belief that JLR might well benefit from a switch of owner. Acquisition by PSA would lead to a brutal period of cost-cutting, for sure, but it could deliver profits for Jaguar and Land Rover just as quickly as the rapid turnaround delivered at Opel and Vauxhall during the past 18 months.

A PSA deal – or, for that matter, a switch to ownership by a major Chinese manufacturer – would also open Jaguar and Land Rover to a wider pool of technologies than either brand presently gets from Tata. The sortof engineering nous that could have delivered plug-in electrification to the new Discovery Sport now, at launch, instead of in six or nine months’ time.

If anything, though, Speth’s attitude to partnerships with other brands was what drew the deepest gasps at the FT Summit. “You can talk about economies of scale and that’s correct,” he said, “but on the other hand, there’s the freedom we have to develop and do our own strategy in a fast way, a structured way. This gives us a lot of power.”

His dedication to independence is admirable, in a way. But with car makers facing huge bills for developing EV technology, it’s hard to find anyone in the industry who thinks that JLR’s relative isolation makes any sense at all.

Do you think Jaguar Land Rover could benefit from a change of owner? Let us know below...

Recommended

'Genesis’s aim is to lure Jaguar Land Rover customers'
Genesis
Opinion

'Genesis’s aim is to lure Jaguar Land Rover customers'

Mike Rutherford thinks luxury brand Genesis could take sales away from Jaguar Land Rover when it lands in the UK
1 Mar 2021
Jaguar platform sharing talks and upmarket move revealed
Jaguar F-Type V6S badge
Jaguar

Jaguar platform sharing talks and upmarket move revealed

Jaguar is set to move upmarket, while sharing tech with another car maker
27 Feb 2021
'If you invest in a Jaguar now, it’s going to look very out of date very quickly'
Electric Jaguar
Opinion

'If you invest in a Jaguar now, it’s going to look very out of date very quickly'

Jaguar's all-electric announcement has editor-in-chief Steve Fowler wondering what future cars will look like from the British brand
24 Feb 2021
Jaguar Land Rover confirms plans to cut 2,000 jobs
Jaguar
Jaguar

Jaguar Land Rover confirms plans to cut 2,000 jobs

JLR will trim its workforce over the next year – but company executives have confirmed that the changes won’t affect factory workers
18 Feb 2021

Most Popular

Euro 7 standards: EU considers lifetime surveillance of every new car
UK Motorway
News

Euro 7 standards: EU considers lifetime surveillance of every new car

Cars could feed data to the EU every second they are being driven; rules could also force hybrids into EV mode, while MoT test results could be affect…
5 Mar 2021
UK-based Arrival reveals electric panel van with modular battery system
Arrival electric van
News

UK-based Arrival reveals electric panel van with modular battery system

Arrival’s electric van will hit UK roads this summer, with a modular battery pack and maximum payload of almost two tonnes
5 Mar 2021
Volkswagen lays out new plans for electrified future
VW ID
News

Volkswagen lays out new plans for electrified future

Volkswagen has revealed plans for its current lineup along with its range of ID-branded electric cars
5 Mar 2021