Jaguar Sales Slide 19% in 2007

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman

Ouch. According to The Motor Authority, the big cat didn't quite move 60,500 units last year. Yet its British sibling Land Rover sold 226,395 4x4s. Turns out that our nouveau riche Russian and Chinese comrades prefer rock-hopping to intercontinental cruising. Who knew? We're kidding by the way, as 99.9% of those Land Rovers will never leave socialist asphalt. Regardless, Jaguar is shagged. The Blue Oval Boyz blame for their sub-brand's sharp sales decline on the S-Type's death rattle. We're thinking several decades of inept management culminating in front wheel-drive diesel-powered Ford station wagons had something to do with it. But what about the new XF? Well, as car-mudgeon Jeremy Clarkson points out, Jaguar's new 5-Series competitor fails to realize the XF concept car's mission critical sex appeal. How'd Jezza put it? "Arguing that the two have the same proportions and stance is like saying I have the same proportions and stance as Brad Pitt. I do. But I'm never asked for his autograph." Jaguar dealers are claiming 10,000 pre-orders. As George Carlin would say, what the hell's a pre-order? An order before an order? Oh, and did you think Tata Motors wanted to buy Jag? No way. To acquire profitable Land Rover, the Indian motoring powerhouse had to adopt the underachieving, inbred, basket case money pit as well. They're still trying to get out of that one.

Jonny Lieberman
Jonny Lieberman

Cleanup driver for Team Black Metal V8olvo.

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  • Jonny Lieberman Jonny Lieberman on Feb 21, 2008

    As a man living in Los Angeles I can say that we have a lot of Jaguars. Mostly XJs. Spanning all sorts of decades. That said, we have more BMW 7s than we do Accords. I don't think I'm kidding.

  • Willbodine Willbodine on Feb 21, 2008

    40 years ago, Jaguar was the low-priced member of the British premium car club. Like Rolls and Bentley, that meant wonderfully pungent Connolly hides and thick varnished walnut dash and door trim, with old-fashioned controls and instruments scattered all over the place. The first XJ was a milestone car by most any yardstick, save perhaps, reliability. Although, for British cars at the time, it was seen as above average in this respect. Ironic, that. But now Mercedes, BMW and Lexus, to say nothing of Honda and Toyota, offer sedans with decent leather and either very processed wood trim or a reasonably convincing artificial substitute. The downfall for Jaguar was that, having lost it's once Unique Selling Proposition, it failed to come up with any new ones, and continued the same XJ styling to the point of self-parody. The XF, while nice, is what the first S series should have been. Still, the entire Jaguar experience under Ford has meant that Detroit-area FoMoCo execs had some much nicer company cars to drive than their counterparts at GM. After an XJ, a Town Car must be quite a comedown.

  • Phil Ressler Phil Ressler on Feb 21, 2008
    As a man living in Los Angeles I can say that we have a lot of Jaguars. Mostly XJs. Spanning all sorts of decades. That said, we have more BMW 7s than we do Accords. I don’t think I’m kidding. I'll second that. Recent Jags are routine in mainstream traffic throughout Los Angeles and its super-metro roadscape. Jaguar is also a respected car here, particularly among people who want some visual expression and grace in their automotive style as alternative to the searing lumpiness of the German brands these days, not to mention their bland ubiquity. There is no status to Mercedes, BMW and Audi ownership here anymore; merely cachet for conformity. Outside of their hardcore enthusiast constituencies, the German brands are funded primarily by the social acceptance market, which, given the role of store-bought status in our culture, means they are too numerous be noticed by people the buyers of these brands were hoping to be noticed by. But a Jaguar still gets a smile and a nod from one's betters. I'm sure Maserati is taking a bite out of Jaguar's upper end sales here, as the coterie of folks who are expression driven and seeking sheer beauty in sheet metal satisfy that lust with inimitable Italian style. Still, if you roll in a Jag, you're going to be greeted with "Beautiful car, sir!" at the valet drops. But Los Angeles is its own distorted market. I see a half-dozen Ferraris *every* day. Three or four Lambos per week. The incidence of new and recent Cadillacs on the road here suggests a successful brand on a strong rebound. It would be easy to conclude that Prius outsells Accord. Scarcely a day goes by that I don't see more than one first-generation rust-free Mustang in service as someone's daily driver. It feels like we must have fully half of the country's Chevy HHRs and nearly all the world's Bentleys. I've seen a Veyron in traffic at least thrice in the last year. I don't doubt that Jaguar's strong street presence here fails to indicate the brand's prevailing sales performance. While the XF to my eyes is a serious misstep, on balance if more people were discerning about real beauty in the objects they own, Jaguar's health as a business wouldn't be in question. For the most part, the Germans (and later Lexus) have been proving for the past 30 years that beauty is scarcely present in the buying equation for luxury cars -- Maserati's success with it at low volumes notwithstanding. Phil
  • Playdrv4me Playdrv4me on Feb 21, 2008

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Ford demonstrated their recent extreme incompetence yet again when they declined BRITISH firm JCB Construction's offer to buy JUST Jaguar at a REASONABLE sum. Not only would Jaguar have gone to an appropriate suitor who was a self-described car-nut, it would have gone back home where it belongs and in dedicated and capable hands as opposed to the inevitable stripping operation it's headed for now. Say what you will about Jaguar, it is an institution with a heritage every bit as rich and storied as any of its higher end British siblings. Not only that, Ford then could have KEPT Land Rover, which I might add is now PROFITABLE with a strong product line that caters to a clientele that is mostly unaffected by fuel prices. There was alot of potential for the Land Rover brand and it finally had come into its own under the careful guidance of Ford. Instead, they decided to take an absolutely short-sighted firesale approach, not unlike a crack-addict needing a quick fix, and dump BOTH brands at FAR under their current value on a suitor whose intentions are now becoming more and more clear, and who certainly won't do anything for the reliability perceptions these brands have had (mostly unreasonably so in Jaguar's case since the end of the Dr. Lucas era). When you consider that LR was basically HANDED to Ford on a silver platter in 2000 with literally 99% of the Range Rover's development COMPLETED and READY for sale, this makes even less sense. My 2003 Range Rover, which is basically for all intents and purposes a BMW, is one of my favorite vehicles ever, and that's saying ALOT. Despite all the negativity surrounding them, mine hasn't even been so bad (knock on wood). I was fully ready to purchase another LR product in the future. Now? Not so much.