Jaguar Land Rover To Downsize To Two Platforms

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
jaguar land rover to downsize to two platforms

There are changes afoot at Tata Motors’ Jaguar/Land Rover division, since CEO David Smith departed the company and former Tata CEO Ravi Kant stepped in temporarily. Smith likely left over planned cuts to JLR’s UK production capacity, and now that former Opel boss Carl-Peter Forster and BMW exec Ralf Speth have taken the reigns [via WSJ [sub]], there’s more cost-cutting afoot. Autocar reports that Jaguar Land Rover will downsize its range of architectures, from six to two, as greater platform-sharing both within and between the two marques is set to accelerate.

Tata’s plan is to develop a single steel chassis (based on Ford’s C1 platform), that will underpin three different Freelander-badged models. One of those models will be a seven passenger variant, which will replace the Discovery. The second platform is, of course, Jaguar’s all-aluminum chassis, which currently forms the basis of the XF, XK and XJ. Jaguar will reportedly develop a narrower, more flexible version of this platform upon which it plans to build its forthcoming XE sportscar.

The real party trick will be the development of a new Range Rover flagship on the current, wide-body version of the aluminum architecture that underpins the new XJ. Autocar explains that building a Range Rover on the XJ platform is actually a relatively simple process:

While the floor and front crash structure will remain the same, the Range Rover version will get a taller front bulkhead and a modified rear bulkhead, which will accommodate folding rear seats.

The XJ’s front strut towers are cast in one piece and bonded and riveted to the front chassis legs. The Range Rover will simply get taller towers to accommodate the model’s higher ride height and much greater wheel articulation.

Ta-da! Jaguar-Land Rover’s global sales tripled last month compared to the year before [via AN [sub]], suggesting that Tata has already made the first steps in the brands’ turnaround. If Jaguar can claw its way back sales-wise while cutting costs through this kind of platform rationalization, Tata’s $2b purchase of the brand will be seen as one hell of a deal. If, on the other hand, Tata starves its luxury project of too many development funds (leave that Nano platform alone!), things could turn sour just as quickly, when the Ford-developed products inevitably lose their cool.

One major challenge: how to build the smaller XE on the same platform as the XF and sharing many components with larger Jags without rendering the XK irrelevant. On a shoestring budget, no less. Best of luck with that one, lads!

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  • Criminalenterprise Criminalenterprise on Feb 18, 2010

    Are the Iranians still making Defenders under license? Maybe someone in an industrializing nation should have bought the tooling for the pre-2002-BMW-unibody-redesign Range Rover: a peerless offroad wagon if you can keep it running. Goodnight, sweet princes.

    • See 2 previous
    • Texacrat Texacrat on Feb 18, 2010

      Sorry Dr. Nguyen, but I actually take my Rover offroad. I do share your contempt for the blinged-out new models that will never leave the pavement though.

  • Waftable Torque Waftable Torque on Feb 18, 2010

    Two car brands that sells less than a Corolla in a year, with six platforms? No wonder they lose money. Being a yuppie douche bag myself, I can see the appeal of a Range Rover or LR4. It's conspicuous consumption at it's best (or worst, depending on how you view Veblen's theory of the leisure class). I've seen many around town driven by "beautiful people", and having one means you could tackle the alleyways and snow ruts that would get your XJR or 750iL stuck. The price is about the same, and the image is close to equivalent.

  • Bkojote I think it's a home run that VW is bound to bungle.For the anti-CUV crowd there's a cool factor here as pickup trucks have become so cartoonish. This will absolutely embarrass the neighbor with a GMC pavement princess pile in the driveway. Even better, the VW van fandom hasn't ruined these the same way it has the Sprinter, and honestly the design looks tight. And believe it or not there's huge demands for minivans- look no further than the unobtanium that is the Toyota Sienna.So here's what's going to go wrong-These are going to be priced on the premium end and they'll be hype for the first 3 years. The owners (whom The MKIV coil packs and dieselgate disasters a distant memory) trading in their post-college Rav4's and CR-V's are going to quickly discover the whole host of Volkswagen failures- bad sensors, glitchy software, leaking roofs, and hell it'll probably have an emissions scandal of its own somehow. This on top of the already terrible haptic controls VW has, the unreliable charging network, and terrible range. And they'll have the privilege of endlessly fighting with Sleazy Sam's VW dealership after the 4th flat bed tow.They're gonna make the same mistake the kids did in the 80's with the rabbit, the 90's with the Passat and Jetta, and the 00-10's with the TDI's- think VW finally turned the corner and stopped making garbage before doing the trade of shame back to Toyota and Honda.
  • Buickman the only fire should be in the board room.they just hired an executive from Whirlpool.that should help them go do the drain.
  • Mike Beranek I don't care about the vehicles. But I'd be on board for inspecting the drivers.
  • Art Vandelay Coming to a rental lot near you. And when it does know there is a good chance EBFlex and Tassos have puffed each other's peters in it!
  • Art Vandelay I doubt there is even room for EBFlex and Tassos to puff each other's peters in that POS