‘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

Jaguar Land Rover Aluminium Upcycling initiative to slash carbon emissions
Jaguar

Jaguar Land Rover Aluminium Upcycling initiative to slash carbon emissions

The use of end-of-life vehicles in addition to other recycled sources, will form part of Jaguar Land Rover’s drive towards zero-emission production
20 Aug 2020
New baby electric Jaguar to take on Tesla Model 3
Jaguar

New baby electric Jaguar to take on Tesla Model 3

The new compact electric Jaguar is likely to sit between a saloon and an SUV in appearance and our exclusive images preview how the finished model cou…
20 Aug 2020
Jaguar Land Rover names Thierry Bollore new CEO
Jaguar

Jaguar Land Rover names Thierry Bollore new CEO

Ex short-term Renault boss, Thierry Bollore will take the reins at JLR as the company enters a new era.
28 Jul 2020
The end of touchscreens? Jaguar Land Rover develops contactless infotainment
Jaguar

The end of touchscreens? Jaguar Land Rover develops contactless infotainment

JLR's predictive touch software uses sensors and artificial intelligence to control the infotainment screen without contact
23 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home
Electric cars

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home

New powers being sought to allow energy providers to turn off high-drain devices to manage electricity network
18 Sep 2020
Audi A3 vs Mercedes A-Class
Car group tests

Audi A3 vs Mercedes A-Class

The Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class are strong competitors in the premium hatchback market - we find out which is best
19 Sep 2020
New Rolls-Royce Ghost 2020 review
Rolls-Royce Ghost

New Rolls-Royce Ghost 2020 review

The all-new luxury Rolls-Royce Ghost saloon brings new levels of refinement
18 Sep 2020