By on March 2, 2021

Jaguar Land Rover has canceled several planned vehicles and opted to reassess its Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) after the company started fretting about the probability of unmet emissions requirements. Chief Financial Officer Adrian Mardell addressed investors on Friday to explain that all subsequent development of the platform would be postponed indefinitely. Ironic, considering MLA was supposed to be flexible enough to facilitate electrification and putting a lid on it means canceling the planned all-electric Jaguar XJ sedan and at least one unnamed Land Rover.

Rather than its intended purpose of underpinning all JLR products by 2025, the MLA platform is now said to be used exclusively on Land Rover’s larger SUVs. Meanwhile, the manufacturer has decided to prioritize its battery-focused Electrified Modular Architecture (EMA) as it tries to place a greater emphasis on electrification moving forward. Sadly, that means the $1.4 billion it spent in service of advancing MLA and finding a new partner that can help make Jaguar all-electric by 2025.

While the company’s Electrified Modular Architecture is supposed to facilitate that (starting in 2024), so was the Modular Longitudinal Architecture and JLR has indicated that most upcoming EMA models will probably still have a very small gasoline engine or generator to help with range. Just by its nature of being designed for larger automobiles, MLA seemed to boast a bit more flexibility in terms of powertrain options. According to Automotive News, the end results apparently don’t help the company reach its emission goals or provide the latest in automotive technology — which is why it feels okay with scrapping so many projects.

From AN:

JLR will write off 1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion) of investment related to those products as part of the company’s “Reimagine” strategy, Mardell told financial analysts on the investor call on Friday.

“There are costs involved, including the cancelation of the MLA-mid program, the XJ replacement and the Land Rover BEV,” Mardell said. The investment due to be written off had largely been made in 2019.

Jaguar Land Rover had intended for the MLA platform, which supports full-electric, plug-in hybrid and internal combustion engine drivetrains, to underpin nearly all its models by 2025, according to a presentation the company showed to investors in 2018.

“Reimagine is about being one step ahead on compliance. The current MLA program would not have done that for us,” Mardell explained. “We would have been in catch-up in this compliance and that just isn’t good enough in this industry today.”

“[The XJ] will not be ahead of the tech curve. It wouldn’t have that modern luxury, that future Jaguar vision, that drop-dead aspiration that we need to make this brand work …That’s why the brand worked 30 years ago, 40 years ago. We have got to capture that for this to be actually cash generative and EBIT positive. So we had to make a tough decision.”

JLR has already confirmed it will have to pay the European Union the equivalent of $35 million (USD) for failing to adhere to 2020 CO2 emission reduction targets. Considering the money that’s been squandered on abandoned development programs and the general financial troubles the automaker has been facing, we’re becoming quite concerned with the JLR’s wellbeing.

The company’s strategy now hinges on an electric-heavy platform intended for smaller vehicles and BEV-only architecture that doesn’t yet exist. It’s also reducing sales projections by a massive amount. JLR previous desire of moving 1 million automobiles per year has been revised to just 400,000 — roughly what it sold in 2020. However, in order to avoid bankruptcy, CEO Thierry Bollore also wants Jaguar Land Rover to use the new Reimagine plan to send vehicles upmarket to make them more profitable. So we have a relatively fancy, though struggling, automaker that’s going to be raising the price of its vehicles while transitioning to a new powertrain it doesn’t seem to be having any luck with?

Should be fine.

 

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

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37 Comments on “Jaguar Land Rover Deathwatch: Hitting Reset on EV Development...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Good call; it’s all over but the agonizing death and dismemberment.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2021/02/jaguar-going-all-electric-by-2025-cancels-electric-xj-sedan/#comment-9989298

    Last gasp of JLR – too bad. They should have done better with the I-Pace product, so they’d have a good foundation to start with.

  • avatar
    Rboz

    …brand worked 30 years ago…
    How much was Aston Martin charging for the Cygnet?
    Fail

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Cygnet is extremely irrelevant in most discussions; I don’t know why people bring it up.

      Keep in mind that while many boutique production automakers (Bentley, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, etc…) were under the umbrella of larger corporations, Aston Martin was not, once it left FoMoCo. Those corporations’ volume cars (Golfs, 3 Series’, Puntos) offset the gas-guzzling exotic cars when it comes to corporate fuel economy and emissions requirements. Aston Martin had no such protection.

      The Cygnet, a rebadged Toyota/Scion iQ, was a cynical attempt to meet those requirements by selling a small quantity of hyper-efficient city cars. At no point did Aston Martin seriously market it as one of its products, and it was predominantly purchased by existing Aston Martin clientele who thought it was cute and quaint…not unlike buying your kid a Power Wheels F-150 to go with your real one. It was a toy.

  • avatar
    Rboz

    …brand worked 30 years ago…
    How much was Aston Martin charging for the Cygnet?
    Fail

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    This seems like another case of making grand proclamations because the leadership don’t really know what to do so they just jump for the most buzziest sounding plan. I’m sure the EMA platform will cost billions (of which millions spent on executive vacations) before they’re canceled again.

    When was the last time the Jaguar half of JLR made money?
    I’m not sure it has yet under Tata. It was always in red while under Ford, probably the same under John Egan, and definitely for the most (or all) of BL days.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Jaguar has been on deathwatch since the BL days. My whole life theyve been like Pontiac. A brand that once had huge hits but since the 70s has just released cars that come up short. Better than the last one but way short of the competition and expectations. Bye bye Jaguar.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m not sure what Tata Motors’ stance is on this, but this is fast becoming what Volvo became in PAG. After 2004, Volvo sales never recovered and IIRC it had not been profitable since 2000 despite those increased sales 01-04. Jaguar I imagine needs to attain a certain volume in order to be profitable and they are not going to be able to do so with EV. No matter what the jackboot technocrats do, people do not want and in most cases cannot afford the pure EV. Any market growth will include a healthy share to Tesla -who owns the EV market- and small time players such as JLR are not going to get much of that slice. I’m sure they are thinking “China, China, China” but that’s not going to materialize for them, because not only are there PRC brands already in the space or about to jump in it but so are the Western majors. Deeper pockets such as VW, Daimler, and even GM have also set their sights on PRC and they can out spend and out sell JLR in order to capture market share as it becomes available.

    What will happen to the industry if de facto banning of the ICE occurs is the overall market will shrink -which I believe is intended- and smaller players will be squeezed hard. This I think is what the late Sergio Marchionne was alluding to with his comments about industry consolidation years ago. He made it sound more as if it was needed for joint R&D but I think he also saw the production cliff.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      In my opinion if you cant afford a pure EV you shouldnt buy a car because you poor and have other issues.

      This is a variation of a line that I hear from some folks on TTAC.
      This is joke..I am here all week

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      There’s no reason for EVs to shrink the market once batteries reach prices under $100/kWh (the threshold at which EV lifecycle costs will be generally on par with those of gas, at current-ish gas prices). The overall car market may shrink in Europe and in select places in Asia just because there is no room for any more cars beyond replacements of the existing fleet. But that’s not an EV issue, it’s a cars-take-up-a-lot-of-space issue. People will adapt pretty easily to EVs as charging infrastructure grows, which it is doing at breakneck speed.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Check back when the Taliban trades in their HiLuxes for battery Suvs…

        Or anyone, anywhere, does so, in markets not, massively, artificially, distorted in favor of the latter. For no other reason that economic illiteracy, incompetence and silly superstitions.

        At some point, in the far, far future, battery cars could possibly, even if not very likely, offer better overall efficiency than alternatives. At least in some niche societies. Specifically ones sufficiently stable to warrant deploying powered, segregated highways.

        But until then, they will never be anything but wanton, subsidy dependent, value destruction. For all but very short trips in very dense cities.

        As of current, pedelecs and Birds are where BEVs make sense. And that’s not about to change anytime soon.

        • 0 avatar
          Kendahl

          Range for the Long Range Tesla Model S is over 400 miles. For the Plaid+, it’s over 500 miles. That’s far enough that an hour spent recharging in the middle of a trip is tolerable. The Supercharger network is broad enough and dense enough to make travel between secondary cities practical. Teslas are still expensive but they have become more than an extra car for running local errands.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Tesla will obviously be the one to watch, but in addition to cost you run into infrastructure issues. If somehow the Model S Plaid technology became commonplace, and more people chose it as an only mode of transit, how much supercharge capacity is there per station/network etc.? I view BEV similar to flying in the 1950s/60s/70s, expensive and limited to most people but available to maybe top 20-30% of society. When/if it BEV becomes flying post 747, now its coach on a Southwest flight to Ft. Lauderdale in summer at the charging stations (ironically it seems international flying is starting to return to 1960s/70s pricing).

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            $100K cars with 400 mile range in good weather (half of that i Fairbanks in the winter. And half or less still, even with the comparatively tiny trailers even the heaviest battery suvs can tow), and dependent on limited-areas always-up charging infrastructure, is about as relevant as battery powered “Superyachts” stuck in orbit between Monte Carlo and Sardinia, as far as a transportation alternative goes. Throw enough of other people’s money at almost any silly frivolity, and you’ll no doubt find some takers among the recipients of said other people’s money.

            For anything with a range beyond short in-city-trips, battery-power-only vehicles take more space, weighs lots more hence wears infrastructure faster, and simply have almost no redeeming qualities whatsoever versus alternatives. Hence why they only sell in any numbers, in places where driving one means other people are working to pay for your car.

            That’s not the case for neither pedelecs nor (even more so) Birds. Hence why those proliferate even without relying on funds redistributed from others.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Yes, I too base my conclusions about society on the buying decisions of illiterate religious fundamentalist hicks in one of the least habitable areas of the planet.

          In the real world, with the power we have, US EVs are about twice as efficient as non-hybrid ICE vehicles from an energy usage perspective and better than that from an emissions perspective. And they work better for the everyday use cases of the vast majority of people (no more gas stops), with the major disadvantages coming on long trips that, again for most people, are an occasional thing. There will still be ICE vehicles for the outliers for a long, long time.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Most of the world, doubly so in the parts with growing populations of future car buyers, have plenty more in common with Afghanistan, infrastructure wise, than the tiny pockets of the US, Europe and China where battery cars have, against all sense and economic literacy, been tortured into providing some, at best, half assed illusion of being competitive.

            Virtually every BEV sold, has been sold to someone under no particular pressure to buy the most efficient transportation solutions for his needs. Either because someone else picks up the tab, or because they are in a position to buy fashion, or is forced to comply with arbitrary regulation, rather than needing to buy transportation.

            While in places with no room for such frivolity, such as Afghanistan and most other parts of the world, BEVs are virtually never chosen.

            It’s not entirely different from sailboats vs diesel powered ones. Insist on choosing definitions tortured sufficiently far into the abyss of economic irrelevance and illiteracy, and sailboats can also be said to be “more efficient” than their diesel powered brethren. Yet the only people buying them are, tah-dah, the same ones buying BEVs. Heck, like BEVs, the biggest, most expensive and most ridiculous ones, are even faster than diesel boats, in limited venues like TransAtlantic races and such. Yet, like BEVs, they’re simply not all that relevant, at all, as far as means of transportation is concerned.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’ll believe it when I see the $100/kWh batteries, to this point the BEV has been too niche and expensive. What will interesting to see will how the upcoming F-150 BEV sells. Unless something dramatically changes, banks will allow very long loans on lower credit for a truck be it EV or conventional. Obviously I am not (and never was) on the F&I side but I’d be curious to know how many subprime 84 month loans went out to Leafs, H/K Ionic, Bolts etc. – my guess is not many. I do know a fair amount of them went and still go out on trucks, certain Jeeps etc because resale is predicable and high. If the F-150 EV repeats this, we may actually see more than minor EV retail market penetration by Q3/4. Even if it somehow doesn’t do well, the commercial side of it I predict will do well because the use case and financing end of it is much more convincing.

        You raise an interesting point on automotive lifecycle in general. If the average of all vehicles up to 2010 was say ten years, in 2020 it was now twelve years. This would mean more vehicles being serviceable and roadworthy and assuming steady production means yes the overall automotive population will have grown while parking/storage and infrastructure have not. Asia and Europe, depending on where, has even less parking/storage and thus presents and even greater problem. I do know in some US urban areas bicycling and motor bikes have become much more common than they were in the past, perhaps in an attempt to mitigate this (in addition to green benefit, heck those may be partial cover for the parking issue)?

        “Another way of looking at it: “The average lifespan [of a car] is now almost 12 years,” says Eric Lyman, chief analyst at TrueCar. “It’s been a slow and steady climb over the past decades.””

        https://www.aarp.org/auto/trends-lifestyle/info-2018/how-long-do-cars-last.html

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The $100/kWh battery is already here for some market participants and should be reality for everyone within a couple of years. This is why we have Chevy ready to sell 2022 Bolts for $32k before discounts or tax credits, with further price cuts likely coming before long. At $29k it would have lifecycle costs on par with a comparable gas vehicle. The question is how fast production can scale up.

          https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1130681_ev-battery-pack-prices-fell-13-in-2020-some-are-already-below-100-kwh

          I’m not at all subprime but I personally have a Bolt with a 0% 72-month loan, and Chevy dealers were giving those out like candy at the time I bought in 2019.

          In truly crowded areas (which really only describes a few places in the US, but describes much more of Europe and key parts of East Asia) it is just a fact of geometry that more cars can’t be added. Transportation for growing populations has to come from some combination of walking (things tend to be much closer together), manual or electric bikes, small mopeds, and private or public transit.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      I love this comment.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Shame really. JLR made some lovely looking cars. But with terrible horrible quality they get what they deserve. My new Land Rover 14 years ago was in the shop more than ANY car I ve ever owned (save the 1982 Citation I had).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This looks to me like preparation for a fire sale. EMA is vapor. Jaguar is, sadly, cooked. JLR’s only worthwhile asset at this point is the large end of the Land Rover and Range Rover lines: the Discovery, RR Sport, and full-size RR. Range Rover remains a brand that can print cash at will. They will continue to develop those products on the existing architecture with the intent that Tata can sell the brand to another automaker that sells a full line of products in the West and can absorb the fuel consumption hit. But it’s hard to see who that automaker might be.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    This makes me want to lowball an XJ at a Jag dealer right now. Wow, that sounded really perverted.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Appears to be a death watch is in order. Lucas electronics does not make for good EVs.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Hold on a minute the writer of this article misses a rather major point. JLR made 500 million pound in Q4 alone last year and profits are climbing.

    The true story here is that Bollore has realised that JLR made 2.1 billion pounds in a single year before they launched the XE. He’s sussed that if they expand Land Rover which is the moment machine and push Jaguar up market they will make more money on fewer cars.

    I don’t disagree that there are big questions around Jaguar. But Lane Rover? Stop talking utter rubbish. Every model they make is highly profitable with the exception of the Discovery. Get real!

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Jaguar should just clone Porsches line up. Go high margin, make a few sports cars, a couple of high margin SUVs and a Panamera rival.

  • avatar
    dwford

    While Land Rover/Range Rover successfully became “it” brands, Jaguar could never make the transition from purveyors of outdated stodgy sedans into a seller of must have cars. I think it’s too late for Jaguar.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    This is a bummer. I really wanted to love the Jaguar XE when it seemed the brand was headed toward a rebirth.

    It was so close, but too many things off the mark.

    How does a brand known for cars survive in a global market where no one wants to buy a car anymore?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I agree. And the main issue with the XE was the same issue the entire line had – a cheap interior that looked like it might have come out of a Honda (in fact, I’d say that the interior in a $35,000 top-level Accord looks quite a bit better than the one in a $50,000 XE). That compact CUV they make – the whatever-Pace – has CLOTH seats, and sells for $40,000. It looks like a base RAV4 in there. Who did these guys think they were kidding?

      Interiors aren’t all that hard to do well, and Jaguar’s failure in this area is absolutely puzzling coming from a brand whose claim to fame was largely based on lux cabins. I don’t get it.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    True it is hard to sell any car in a global market that wants suvs and crossovers. I hate to see a historic brand like Jaguar go but it could happen but Land Rover will likely survive.

  • avatar

    If historic brand like Oldsmobile went away I do not see why Jaguar cannot go away. Unless Ford saves the mother kingdom and buys JLR back making it its luxury brand and killing Lincoln in process. Or make Jaguar to specialize in EV battery production.

    I wonder why English speaking nations are not capable of making cars profitably. French can do it. And even Czechs can do it.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      To be fair, and as the owner of a Czech car, Skoda’s popularity was at VWs hands.

      In the 80s they were a joke, a common UK quip would be “Why does a Skoda have a heated rear screen? To warm your hands while pushing!”

      They are successful because of VW. With the original Octavia they made a Euro ‘large family car’ (US midsize) from the Golf. People saw it was more VW for less money. Since then that’s been their formula, VW platforms and parts with a little more value for money and attention to detail.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Personally I think Bollore should rethink his ideas on Jaguar. They have two models worth persevering with. The F pace which is a strong seller and profitable and the I Pace which has been gaining in popularity. Jaguar should have 3 SUVs / Crossovers, 2 Sportcars and 1 Panamera rival. This strategy would not increase volumes, but would it would boost margins significantly. Dropping SUVs in an SUV dominant world is bonkers!

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    When manufacturers are falling over themselves to build the next Model S (see the fantastic eTron GT and Merc EQS) it seems strange that they had a luxury EV sedan more or less ready on the shelf, and threw it away, all the while announcing that they are going to be an EV brand (currently with one EV product). Very strange set of affairs.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @WallMeerkat–Seriously I like your name it is really cool reminds me of MeerKat Manor series which was a good series.

  • avatar

    Hi there,
    Not sure if you know this or not, but you can ride the original amphibious cars. The ones that Hans Trippel, a German designer, created. The Amphicar Model 770 debuted in 1961. The vehicles were produced in Germany by Quandt Group and available to buy from 1961 to 1968. Production stopped in 1965 with 3,878 produced, of which 3,046 were imported into the U.S.
    The only place in the world where you can ride them (unless you own one) is at Disney Springs in Florida: https://britonthemove.com/amphicars/
    Also, Mount Dora in Florida has an amphicar festival every year where many owners come and display their cars on the water.
    You should check it out if you are into amphibious cars; the history alone is fantastic. Riding one – WOW! Enjoy – Nikki

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