Ford-Free Jaguar and Land Rover Move Upmarket
The Financial Times reports that new Jaguar owners Tata Motors are taking the leaping cat up market. What's more, "there are no plans to replace Jaguar's cheapest model, the X-Type." Not so strangely, the once interim and now permanent CEO of Jaguar and Land-Rover is lifetime Ford financial guy (and ex-Aston director) David Smith. But while Smith may have tactical control, group chairman Ratan Tata is the man with the plan. Booming demand for conspicuous consumption by the newly wealthy in China, Russia and the Middle East has driven Bentley and Aston Martin sales of over $200k vehicles into the 10k unit per year range. Jaguar (and Land Rover) are already doing land office business in these expanding markets; Ratan wants a serious slice of that scrumptious pie. How exactly Land Rover fits into this new picture is a bit fuzzy, but taking Jaguar up against Bentley and Aston-Martin seems clear enough. The X-type is dead. Long live Jaguar.
When I got a close look at a friend's new X-type, it permanently changed my perception of Jaguar. For the worse. Besides Cimarron, its hard to remember a single model that so damaged a supposedly luxury brand as the X-type did for Jaguar, at least in my mind. I want Ford to succeed, and I think that (unlike GM) they're at least making a serious effort to turn things around in a miserable market. But wouldn't it be a slap in Ford's face for Tata of India to restore Jaguar to its former glory?
I'm fed up of people slagging the X-Type off! It is a wonderful car which IS a Jaguar as it hold to its brand values (i.e brilliant ride quality and style). I own one and I love it. Stick your Mercedes-Benzes, Audis and BMW's, I'll have a Jaguar anytime! Ford were useless managers of Jaguar. They positioned Jaguar not to encroach on Volvo (luxury cars, allegedly) and Aston Martin (Luxury sports cars). The 2 car segements which Jaguar is famous for! Why didn't Ford market Volvo as a Euro-style car (which is what it was!) with safety in mind and leave Jaguar to deal with the luxury car market? Utterly useless and I'm glad it's gone to Tata and I hope they make a success of it just to show how pathetic Ford's managers were.
TATA should be excused--since they have no such product--for keeping low-brow models like the X for entry-level forays in developing economies who might like TATA and Jaguar combined. It would appeal to the core buyers, and to Katie. :) But, thank goodness, its nice to see the Indians know brand management better than Ford/PAG ever did.
Did they not just announce a new lower end ute? Let's see what they DO.