Sunk Cat Bias

JLR Reimagines Jaguar as a successful business. Good luck Thierry.

The only image officially shown of the axed ‘new’ XJ. (c) Autocar

“It’s not the despair… I can stand the despair. It’s the hope…” [1]

So it’s finally happened. After months of deliberation, and a good deal of wild-eyed speculation, Thierry Bolloré and his JLR board have announced their Reimagine plan for the JLR business. Described in some areas of the mainstream auto press as a Bombshell, the revelations which pertain to brand-Jaguar are in fact nothing of the sort. This shift has been telegraphed for the best part of two years now.

Reimagine has been devised, Bolloré told journalists, to emphasise “quality over volume”, a tacit recognition that not only were Sir Ralph Speth’s growth projections for the JLR business wrong, but in a new post-Covid, post Brexit environment, completely unattainable.[2] Speth’s aspirations to become a one million cars a year business foundered not only upon a Chinese market boom which could never last indefinitely, but the growth which was garnered came at considerable cost to JLR’s reputation, as their products languished close to the bottom of global reliability surveys.

But while the buck for this state of affairs must stop at the benighted former BMW executive’s door, it is his handling of the storied Jaguar brand which deserves the most criticism, for while the reversal of fortune which affected the entire JLR business over the past 18 months or so has not been catastrophic for the Land Rover side of the brand equation, the situation has become pretty dire for the leaping cat.

Speth and his board envisaged the Jaguar brand as something of a British BMW, with offerings scoped and benchmarked to compete in what has become a volume market for so-called premium offerings.[3] But the products themselves lacked clarity, lacked distinctiveness and above all, lacked allure. It was, in what has become a time-honoured litany for brand-Jaguar, a failed growth strategy. Monday’s announcement only illustrates the starkness of this failure.

After all, it took Ford management about 13-14 years into their stewardship of Jaguar to admit they had enacted the wrong strategy and change direction – which encompassed not only the development of the first generation XF and last XJ models, but a shift away from volume towards exclusivity – and higher transaction prices. Not only was the former reversed under Speth’s JLR leadership, it has taken a similar length of time for the realisation to dawn at Gaydon that it was not the correct approach in that instance either.

As part of Monday’s announcement, Bolloré confirmed what many of us had long suspected. The oft-delayed Jaguar XJ replacement has been cancelled entirely, amid a good deal of wailing and tearing at hems. Again, for those who were following the story with any seriousness, this was merely a confirmation.

There is a heuristic known as Sunk Cost Bias, which describes a situation where an individual or a business, against logic, presses ahead with an action, owing to an acknowledgement that too much resource has been expended. Invariably, this leads to far poorer outcomes than had the decision been taken to simply cut one’s losses and start afresh. It remains unclear what factor doomed the XJ. Autocar speculates that perhaps a fundamental engineering issue was at root, but that smacks of feeding the preferred party line.

The reasons are most likely a little more nuanced. The new XJ[4] has been knocking around for some time, having been prepared to debut in time to succeed the pensioned off X351 model, but became subject to innumerable delays. Time waits for no car, and two years later, it was already sounding like a less than cutting edge proposition.

There was also the matter of the change of stylistic guard, not only at Design Director level (Callum out – Thomson in), but also the elevation of Gerry McGovern (MBE) to a creative overseer position earlier this year. And that’s before we get to his recent gnomic profession to the press regarding Jaguar and the concept of beauty.

It’s unlikely there will be any official revelation of the axed XJ’s styling, but judging from the disguised prototype images (which were running with pre-production bodywork), it looked something of a brute, certainly not the sylphlike XJ of platonic ideal.[5]

However, it’s equally possible that the business case for the car as developed had simply evaporated – which would not have been a first in Jaguar’s long and often embittered history.

Either way, it’s awful news for JLR’s suppliers and staff at the Castle Bromwich plant who were to build it, but drastic times often call for drastic actions. The Reimagine plan envisages the development of a new dedicated scalable EV platform to underpin a New Jag Generation, which will not, Bolloré stated, include SUVs – that being Land Rover’s job. So less Jaguars, but more exclusive ones.

This is the easy part. Thierry Bolloré has defined the problem and his plan to arrest the situation has met with press approval.[6] The difficult part is execution, because if Jaguar is to succeed, there can be no more slip-ups or leaps into the hard shoulder. Get it wrong this time and the cat really will be sunk.

More on Jaguar

[1] A quote from the 1986 movie, Clockwise, starring John Cleese – a state of mind numbingly familiar to most Jaguar aficionados.
[2] Bolloré’s plans also involve a more focussed approach to model lines within the Land Rover side of the business, which could be significant for the likes of Velar and Discovery – both of which overlap noticeably with other JLR products.
[3] At their peak, Jaguar volumes came to around 180,000 units, a mere 10% of BMW’s.
[4] According to my sources, the new XJ was intended to be both plug-in hybrid and full-EV.
[5] Reliable sources also suggest it was no ravishing beauty. The X351 alienated as much as it allured. This was not a strategy Jaguar could afford to repeat.
[6]So successfully that the impartial-to-a-fault, Steve (Goldfinger) Cropley breathlessly described Bolloré as the living embodiment of the messiah. Talk about the kiss of death.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

51 thoughts on “Sunk Cat Bias”

  1. I think its a good decision – jaguar would have died a slow death had they kept doing business as usual.

    The electric XJ was probably just based on an modified X351 platform or something similarly half assed, so they probably realized it would be uncompetetive and unprofitable at launch.

    The Taycan and e-tron GT has shown you can make a true modern XJ if they have the balls to go through with it – long, low, sporty and DESIRABLE!

  2. We will get to see the now-cancelled XJ eventually. We always do. Eoin himself has written many fine words regarding previous doomed Jaguar prototypes. It will probably turn up in the museum at Gaydon in a few years’ time and then we will all get to see what they were proposing.

    Yes, sometimes it is good to cut your losses, but when the boss lays out a new plan based on producing upmarket EVs and cancels the forthcoming upmarket EV on the same day, something has gone very, very wrong.

    JLR have spent huge sums on R&D over the past decade but it would be more than reasonable for the owners to ask why the return has been so low. Now they have sunk many millions into a new XJ that will never go on sale.

    They simply cannot afford to make this mistake again. The next Jaguar – more than any other – is truly make or break.

  3. Good morning Eóin. Oh dear, here we go again, Jaguar’s perpetual state of reinvention continues. I hope your intentionally (I’m sure) ironic use of the phrase ‘New Jag Generation’ in reference to the proposed scalable EV platform isn’t prophetic: didn’t Jaguar use that tagline in advertisements for the ill-fated X-Type?

    One area that definitely needs attention is the obese Land Rover range. Apparently, there’s now a seven-seater LWB Evoque in development. Just how many micro-niches are there to fill?

  4. I love that quote from Clockwise – I shamelessly reuse it myself quite often.

    As to JLR’s overall plight, I am a bit worried on the evidence so far as to whether Bollore has the right idea.

    First, the cost of developing (properly) two EV platforms (one for each of Jaguar and Land Rover) sounds enormous and my question is whether each brand will have sufficient scale to defray those costs efficiently to make a profit and put enough in the R&D pot to develop future models. This is what happened with the investment in the XE and XF 2 (and Ingenium engines) that ended up having to be written off, causing huge losses over a couple of years.

    Second, Bollore seems to be suggesting that Jaguar moves further up-market. That’s very easy to say but difficult to achieve, and, even then I think there are limits. If this is the intent, they have to absolutely nail the quality and reliability of their cars. The design also has to also reek ‘quality’ and distinction.

    Third, what kind of cars is Jaguar going to build in the future? Bollore has ruled out SUVs in the longer term, restricting those for the Defender, Discovery and Range Rover sub-brands. Does that extend to ‘cross-overs’? Or, is it going to be limited to saloons, estates and sports cars, at least two of which are rapidly declining parts of the market. Also, going EV early will give the brand a temporary differentiating factor

    Ever-decreasing circles is the expression which comes to mind about Jaguar in particular; if they don’t break this cycle soon, it seems there’s only one conclusion.

    1. Outside the UK, placing Jaguar as a luxury, rather than a premium brand makes quite a bit of sense. For over here, Jaguar’s image has always been closer to that of Bentley than BMW. About a decade ago, market research found out that German customers believed Jaguars to be considerably more pricey than what they actually were, which was another reason as to why the brand never entered the fleet market over her.

      Non-car people tended to assume that an XJ was at least as expensive as the German competition, on the basis of the marque’s image and certain insignia of luxury. In Italy, due to luxury tax et al, an XJ6 was a car for managing directors, whereas an XJ12 was reserved for captains of industry and nobility.

      Across the channel, people simply have no idea who Arthur Daly was. They simply see traditional Jaguars as shoddily built, expensive, beautiful luxury items.

    2. yeah, i agree with Christopher – here in Norway Jaguar is still seen as something special and slightly more luxurious then the big germans to the average joe, though the actual cars they make have been slowly eroding that image since the early 2000s…
      If they can just recapture the old spirit, and make something that truly stands out from the competition, i think they could have great success with new sedans and coupes.

      The CUV craze must be nearing its peak soon. Its been going on for so long, its only a question of time before it’s seen as deeply uncool, and people start gravitating towards the next big thing.

    3. ” going EV early will give the brand a temporary differentiating factor”
      Sorry, but everyone else is already there.
      The entire market’s shape is shifted by the bigger makers — notably Toyota and Nissan, with their more recent premium add-on brands.

      China is different, and I haven’t needed to get my head round it. But if they start exporting much, we’ll all have to.

      JLR could do worse than being taken over by a bigger maker, who could put their arms round it at the same time as cutting costs.

    4. I am not sure that many other rivals to Jaguar will be ‘all-EV’ by 2025, but, in any case, my point is that it will be a short lived advantage, if one at all, and it certainly will not be the answer to this maiden’s prayer – they will need high quality product that looks super-desirable on a consistent basis to survive.

    5. One big advantage to going full EV early, is that they have the potential to get in on some of that sweet emissions-credit money similar to what tesla is doing, so the new cars dont have to be profitable by themselves right away.

  5. When Bolloré’s hiring was announced last autumn, I contacted a Parisian investment analyst friend who follows the auto sector. His email reply was just two words: “Sell Tata”.

  6. Eóin thank you for the analysis of this week’s announcement. Jaguar is by far my favorite marque and I agree that the ‘Reimagine’ plan is not as surprising, or as drastic, a strategy as many reports have made it out to be. Jaguar has been foundering for some time and I was expecting the worst after the complete withdrawal of the XE from the US market late last year.

    In the past five years I can point to a few key failures that led Jaguar to the brink, though I should point out that the first is no fault of their own:

    – Engineering cost of developing the ‘Ingenium’ engine series to support both diesel and petrol variants, only for the market for diesel cars to fall apart due to the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

    – E-Pace compact crossover failing completely upon arrival. While year-by-year steps have been taken to improve the car (especially the interior), I don’t think the E-Pace has ever come close to the sales projections that Ralf Speth and his team drew up. I think that targeting this market segment was a mistake – in the US, the compact luxury CUV market is difficult to enter and is under the complete control of the Germans (the Volvo XC40 has also not had success).

    – Benchmarking of the XE and XF sedans, as Eóin explained, as a “British BMW” – but which BMW exactly? This is the same problem that befell Cadillac with the recent CT4 and CT5. In chassis, suspension, and response, these cars are always trying to surpass the BMW E46 – a good car to target (and an engineers’ and enthusiasts’ favorite), but the market has moved on. The press states that even the current 3-series does not drive anything like the E46 and the buying public does not care.

    – Supply chain issues delaying the sales launch of the F-Pace SVR by more than a year.

    – R&D spent on canceled projects that are either in the wrong segment or too late market to make sales sense. In addition to the electric XJ, I can recall reports of a three-row large carlike crossover, suspected to be named “J-Pace” by the press; a variant of the aforementioned future XJ in PHEV configuration as well as the pure battery-electric model; and various rumors (some little more than pipe-dreams) surrounding the future F-Type, stating at different times that the car would be a 2+2 grand tourer, a pure battery-electric sports car, or a mid-engine car.

    So, we arrive at today, with Mr. Bolloré’s grand plan. Why not change Jaguar’s product completely, when none of its existing models manage to check all three criteria of being desirable, competitive, and profitable?

    The better question, sadly, might be “Why Not Close”? I am sure that marketing studies were done proposing that these future electric models be sold as Land Rovers. But, I do think that Ratan Tata at least understands the romance of the Jaguar name and history – Jaguar has always been an iconoclast’s car, and what would reflect this more than having the name still survive? I only hope that this will be reflected in Jaguar’s future products. If Jaguar can still build an electric car that is unmistakably a Jaguar – especially an electric F-Type or sports car – I’ll stay in line to buy one.

    I’ll end by stating that I do find all of this preferable to previous reports that JLR was looking to use BMW-supplied engines in future Jaguar models. That would not have resulted in something unmistakably a Jaguar or something unique, and something strikes me as deeply wrong that a car could be built at Castle Bromwich, moving through buildings and down lines where Spitfires were once assembled, only to be fitted with a BMW engine.

    1. Hi Neil, I’d add one more item to your charge sheet, Jaguar’s aluminium architecture, allegedly the reason that the cars’ interiors are rather cramped, because of the need for more substantial box-sections in the body structure than would be the case for steel. My F-Type convertible felt remarkably snug inside relative to its large exterior dimensions, which is not such a problem in a roadster, but would be in a saloon.

      The E-Pace deserved to fail because it was knocked together on the cheap, with an outdated platform that led to it weighing more than the larger F-Pace. All that guff about it referencing the F-Type styling couldn’t disguise the fact that it is a dumpy, unlovely thing that was a facsimile of the 2010 Hyundai iX35:

    2. Wow. Harsh…but true Daniel. I had no idea until your comparison.

    3. Hello Daniel – that is a damning comparison when you have the two photos side-by-side. The E-Pace’s A-pillar, front corners, and overall length-to-height ratio are better executed than the Hyundai, but the rear-quarter glass and rear character lines are identical. Certainly not Ian Callum’s finest work.

      I have the F-Type coupe and I agree that the interior feels smaller than comparable cars, though not uncomfortably so. My coupe does have the glass roof panel which helps with the perception of the cabin’s size – I never drive with the shade closed. However the vertical glass area in the F-Type is smaller than the Porsche 911 and the bulkhead behind the seats rises much higher than the one in the Mercedes-AMG GT; I think the high wall behind the seats is the biggest contributor to the feeling that you are sitting down and in the small cabin.

      Unfortunately the F-Type is only offered with a black headliner as I am sure that a light-colored one would better contribute to a feeling of openness (light headliners are still available on Jaguar’s sedans, though, as you point out, real space matters more than perception for everything that is not a sports car). The XE and XF do have smaller measured interiors than their competitors and this, whether due to structure or styling, surely affects sales. And, burdened down by luxury features and mandatory safety equipment, the weight savings of all-aluminum construction are now negligible or nonexistent between the XE and BMW 330i.

    4. Daniel, I completely agree about the E Pace. It is a dog.

      It is also the third model based on an old Ford platform. The Evoque was a smash hit design, and has ridden that wave ever since. The Discovery Sport offers space by building high, so is uniquely capable as a more compact SUV. But the E Pace really offers nothing over myriad other competitors.

  7. The planet will not be saved by cancelling diesel engines – continued developments will make them very competitive, if they are permitted.
    When I owned a Jag, I didn’t actually need to drive it – I could just open the bonnet and polish the cam-covers.

  8. I have just seen on the news that ” The Lean Foundation” approach will involve the loss of 2000 jobs in the next financial year. Not looking good for Jaguar.

  9. It’s the first anniversary of the announcement of the ‘retirement’ of Holden, and the prospect of a world without Jaguar no longer seems like a groundless scare story.

    The downfall of Saab followed a similar trajectory – ageing products based on unexceptional chassis and powertrain components, which didn’t make an ownership against German and Japanese premium rivals; inappropriate niche products, which sat uncomfortably with the parent company’s offerings on the same platforms. A company whose glory days were long past.

    GM’s last-ditch plan for chronically unprofitable Opel, pre-sale to PSA was to reinvent it as an EV-only brand, with Rüsselsheim as GM’s worldwide BEV centre of excellence. The alacrity with which the deal was done with Peugeot, and the financial hit GM were prepared to take to offload Opel suggest that there was no great faith in the plan.

    Tata is not GM, but there are parallels in their corporate though processes. Best of good luck to JLR, but I’m not convinced that the announcement is anything other than a desperate attempt to find relevance for a brand which looks woefully short of that elusive commodity.

  10. If their idea is to keep Jaguar as a sporty electric brand, they may want to note that Tesla has a new Roadster on the way.

    I did have more to say about plans for agility and being lean, but you never know who reads these things, and I’d like to remain employed, so it’s deleted.

    1. Unwise to follow Tesla, still a niche product.
      Meanwhile, Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo (which latter ate into Jags’ traditional market).
      And the Dearborn team are about to turn it all upside down.
      I’ll reserve judgement on whether Tata can put in the hard — and expensive — yards to keep up.

  11. So apart from uncompetitive engines, quality issues, poor packaging, uninspiring styling on smaller models, expensive raw materials what did Jaguar get wrong?

    1. They ruined their font!
      They keep putting the leaper places it doesn’t belong!
      The i-pace keeps filling up with sand and dust, and they are too incompetent to fix it!
      They no longer style their engines to look good when you open the bonnet!

  12. Grace, pace, space for 12 bob on the pound was the Lyons way of looking at things. It was always a bit of an illusion, but it sucked the average and slightly better-off punter in for a few decades, helped by a few bright engineers on the suspension and NVH front, because the XK engine was no real gem. Its production story is told at:

    Hmm. Let’s face it, the state of Jaguar manufacturing was a complete surprise to Ford when they took over in 1990 — it simply hadn’t occurred to them that anything could be so incredibly primitive. Pretty much the same at BMC/Rover/Standard/Triumph/Austin/Morris. British “management” really wasn’t for decades and survived on its own fairy tales and built-in class incompetence. When the Japanese opened factories in the UK, it certainly became clear it wasn’t the fault of British workers that British cars were hopeless and uncompetitive. And now you have the same kind of management mob with minds living on past glory running the country!

    Lyons wasn’t that bright either in many ways. When he bought Daimler, he got two very good modern overhead-valve V8 engines handed to him on a plate, and only used the titchy one in the 250 with the typically useless Borg Warner automatic – that still ran over the 2.4 XK. Spent many a commute on the A604 in one, and it was a turbine. One supposes he felt that they couldn’t be smartened and polished up to give that second hand car salesman sheen when the bonnet was raised, for there was no rationale whatsoever for dumping the 4.5 litre engine. You read old Autocar and Motor road tests and that thing had the measure of the XK lump every which way to Sunday, running giant two-and-a-half ton Daimler limos around at silly speeds. Lyons thought he knew his customer mark, and perhaps he did for the shallow thought of the UK market, walnut dash and leather and twin cams with Laycock de Normanville Overdrive. But overseas, a 4.5 litre V8 E-type would have sold like hotcakes. Many an E-type in the USA got a Chevy V8 stuffed in it for less weight and more go and far better reliability. Instead, Jaguar treasure was poured into a so so V12, because V12 was a shiny trinket for the magpie Lyons’ mind’s eye.

    So what is a Jaguar today? Damned if I know. Irrelevant about sums it all up. Anyone can make an EV as Tesla shows, so what possible angle can Jaguar come up with to impress the punter in the street? Really, it’s the name that holds them back because of vague remembrances of past glory, which today would be impossible to recreate in my opinion. Stuffing an electric motor and a battery pack on a chassis is what everyone’s up to by government fiat, and there is no romance whatsoever to be found in it. There is no unique selling proposition; on performance, Tesla has grabbed it all already with 2.0 second 0 to 60 times that even Porsche struggles to match at double the price. BMW is going to have a hard time of it as well, I think. Times, they are a changing.

    1. Love The Byrds reference or was it Dylan? Either way you are right. I asked my wife what she thinks of Jaguar and she simply replied ‘Burberry’. I have no idea if she’s spot on or away with the fashion fairies?

  13. Bill

    Edward Turner’s Majestic Major V-8 of 4.5 litres was an excellent engine. The trouble was that Daimler had tooled-up for low volume production for this engine. A lot of highly skilled manual labour was required to build it as the direct result. So output was low and cost per unit was high- too high for Jaguar. Jaguar investigated this engine at length. Bill Heynes had it stretched it to an even 5-litres and redesigned the cylinder head porting for improved gas flow. This really woke the engine right up and made it a real performer. The trouble was retooling for higher volume.

    In the end Jaguar did not continue with production of the Daimler because of high unit cost. They declined to invest in tooling up a line for higher production volumes since they already possessed a production line which produced an engine of suitable capacity (the XK engine) and reasonable power in volumes then deemed sufficient.

    The decision to go with the V-12 came a little later (this was Jaguar’s second V-12 design, Claude Bailey had already worked on a version which was paired XK sixes on a common crankcase). Jaguar management sought a new generation engine which would be able to possess superior NVH characteristics and be capable of being stretched to capacities well above anything they had available was able to accomodate. Their new V-12 started development at 5.0 litres in early prototype form, entered production with a larger bore at 5.3 litres, was later stroked slightly to 6 litres and had potential to be stretched well beyond that*. Do not forget that at the time the V12 was being developed Jaguar were aware of the “big block” or large capacity engines available in the US market.

    The ’60s onwards US “big blocks”** start at around 6.5 litres, ranging upward to an eventual 8.2 litres (Cadillac) with an 8.4 litre Buick engine being readied for production. All those US large engines had margin for further growth beyond 7 litres. They featured ample torque from low in the rpm range, providing quiet and effortless driving with reasonably acceptable NVH characteristics (many have since had this aspect spoiled with the application of overly vocal exhaust systems by extrovert owners). To compete with this Jaguar needed something very special, something extra and a V-12 was that extra. It was (and is) an excellent and refined engine (drive one back to back with a Tesla and you’ll see what NVH suppression really is).

    Meanwhile rival Mercedes had the excellent and already proven M100 engine ready to go. Rudolf Uhlenhaut, after experiencing Eric Waxenburger’s prototype, keenly supported the installation of M100 into regular size Mercedes sedans (the M100 was being produced for the Pullman limousines). The M100 started at 6.3 litres, grew to 6.7 litres (AMG ‘secret’ competition version) and finally went to just under 6.9 litres. It can be stretched further than this. Doubtful Mercedes were ignorant of that potential. Jaguar weren’t.

    So Jaguar needed a much larger engine, one which had room for a lot of future growth, something uniquely Jaguar. That was not going to be merely yet another V-8. Given what they knew at the time, their decision was good. Of course in the late ’60s no-one thought gasoline was going to get a lot more expensive (even in the USA) or that there would be a “fuel crisis”. Poor Jaguar was not the only manufacturer caught by a politically created disaster completely outside their control.

    By the way, more recently various Mercedes V-8 engines did venture back above the 6 litre mark from time to time. The Maserati V-8 (not the Ferrari sourced one, the original) was available in marinised form to over 6 litres. GM’s LS engine can be had at 7 litres. Chryslers 3rd generation Hemi is also over 6 litres (and can be had with supercharger***).

    * as much as 10.1 litres, although 7.1 litres appears to be about optimal for a variant with ~7,000 rpm redline.

    ** Strictly speaking the terms “big block” and “small block” apply to Chevrolet. There is the ubiquitous small block Chevrolet of Ed Cole and the big blocks starting with the W-series a.k.a. Mk I followed by Richard Keinath’s Mk II “Mystery Motor”, the productionised Mk IV and later derivatives. The current LS engine is generally thought of as a small block (confusingly the LS6 and LS7 engines of the ’70s were Mk IV big blocks).

    The terms can be applied to Ford’s Windsor (as a small block), 335 series “Cleveland” (also a small block), FE series (big block) and 385 series “Lima” (big block), the M series “Modified” (small block) and even the MEL series engines (as a big block). They can make sense when applied to Chrysler Corp’s LA series (small block), B series (big block) and RB series (big block). Hemis are a different matter. Chrysler’s Hemi engines are each in categories of their own (Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 3, as well as the Dodge and de Soto hemis which are separate designs of their own). The terms “big block” and “small block” do not properly apply to Oldsmobile, Buick and Pontiac V8 engines.

    Ford’s “Romeo” or “Modular” engines are not usually referred to as small blocks, although since the release of Ford’s new “Godzilla” (replacing both the sohc 6.2 V-8 and 6.8 V-10 engines) that may well alter. It is arguable whether “Godzilla” is really a big block though.

    *** highly recommended- that’s the best one to get hold of, no question.

    1. Did the rootling menas increased the V8s volume,or just from 2.5 to 4.5?
      Understand the V8 was not worth to retooling for higher volume.
      But producted 4.5/5.0 instead of 2.5 seems to make sense

    2. Wow JT you know your engines. Where does the current Ford Mustang 5.0 Coyote engine fit into category wise? Apparently available as a crate engine from Ford Performance USA for use in custom street and racing applications.

  14. Oliver

    The Daimler 2.5 and 4.5 engines were completely different engines. Major castings and most of the other components were not interchangeable.

    The re-tooling for volume I referred to in regards to the 4.5 is to increase the number of engines produced in a given amount of time. For example, if we are producing, say, 20 engines per month in our factory and we decide to up that to, say, 400 engines per month, then it will be necessary to invest in tooling suitable for the higher production rate. We will also need to hire extra staff and train them, sort out our suppliers and so on. It would be a big step to take- costly. There had better be a solid return on such an investment as this or we are in deep trouble!

    The 2.5 is not conveniently stretched to 4.5 litres. Although there is an approach which might have worked, it is not a trivial change to make on a one off basis let alone one to tool up for series production. Also to be considered prior to putting a wildly stretched 2.5 into production would have been all the issues pertaining to reliability and longevity etc. They all needed to be checked out thoroughly. Basically the stretched engine would demand an expensive development programme to prove it out. If all OK, then a major retooling would be called for. Given the existence of an excellent 4.5 litre design already to hand, that was the best place to start the analysis. That is exactly what Jaguar actually did. Allthesame, it is a shame that the 4.5 litre did not survive.

    There was a drag racer, Russ Carpenter, who managed to get the Daimler 2.5 litre V-8 to produce well over 1,000 bhp. He was the first racer in the world to achieve a sub-8 second 1/4 mile with an engine of less than 5-litres. Tough little engine that Daimler.

    1. I know the difficulties in increasing volume
      I’m just not sure did 2.5 and 4.5 used the same tools

  15. In view of the current legal proceedings regarding replica ‘C’-Types, one has to wonder if 21st century Jaguar deserve to survive….

  16. Hi Oliver

    Different tooling for 4.5 and 2.5, especially so if intending to produce large numbers.

  17. Dear Eóin
    Much has been written in recent days about Jaguar’s latest announcements. But from my point of view, no one has described the current situation as aptly and pointedly as your article does.

    My grandmother drove a Jaguar XJ-C 4.2 from 1976 and did so for almost 30 years until her passing. Parts of my childhood and youth were closely connected with this wonderful automobile. I will never forget the trips I was allowed to take in the Jaguar after passing my driving test. Partly thanks to the manual gearbox, it was possible to get to connect with this cat in a very distinctive way.

    Since that time, Jaguar has had a special place in my life. Over all these years, with every new XJ, I have always felt this wish that Coventry would finally present a truly worthy successor, one that would mutate into another great design masterpiece with a perfect melange of elegance and sportiness. So far, this expectation has always been associated with major and minor disappointments.

    Even the last Jaguar XJ, which certainly had some interesting facets, was not a model whose design and grace could completely convince me.On the contrary, I see it as a typical representative of the design era under the leadership of Ian Callum. First of all, I must say at this point that I have great respect for his work, especially considering the misguided ideas and implementations he was faced with when he was appointed. It didn’t take long to get the impression from some very successful concepts that Jaguar design had finally landed in the right hands. The disappointments were all the greater with the respective production models, which never made it to the top into this fine little league of genuine design masterpieces.

    On the contrary, I see it as a typical representative of the design era under the leadership of Ian Callum. First of all, I must say at this point that I have great respect for his work, especially considering the misguided ideas and implementations he was faced with when he was appointed. It didn’t take long to get the impression from some very successful concepts that Jaguar design had finally landed in the right hands.The disappointments were all the greater with the respective production models, which never made it to the top of this fine little league of genuine design masterpieces.

    Now, of course, this ability is also up to the company itself, how they deal with design and the importance they attach to it. What makes me wonder in this context is the fact that Gerry McGovern has proved very successfully several times in recent years that JLR was and is quite capable of preparing the necessary breeding ground for great designs.

    In this respect, I think it is great news that Gerry McGovern will be representing design at JLR at board level and will be able to bring his obviously valuable influence to bear on future Jaguar models. From this perspective alone, it is quite understandable to me that Jaguar was prepared to completely shelve the activities surrounding a new XJ. And I dare to say that they might not have done so had the design been of such superior quality as the brand so desperately requires and which the new leadership will obviously claim.

    It doesn’t take much imagination, in my opinion, to envisage a worthy XJ being among the projects now to be launched. In this respect, Jaguar will continue to keep me going as a patient and at the same time confident admirer of the brand.

    1. You’re Grandmother’s XJ-C is a beautiful motor car. I believe Ian Callum actually owns one too. However I cannot forgive Ian Callum for the clumsy front bumper on 2007 Jaguar XJ facelift or McGovern for his ridiculous offset number plate on current Discovery. Actually make that the entire Discovery. Truly dreadful in every way.

    2. Thank you for your comment Mark. Some cars leave an indelible mark upon the soul and the early XJs certainly did that for me. If you are new to the site, you’ll find a large quantity of Jaguar-related articles in the archive. I hope you enjoy.

  18. Great article. I’m told cats have nine lives…not sure which number Jaguar is currently at? 🐾

  19. Jaguar was mortally wounded once they transplanted a cloned Mustang engine into the XJ. The coup de grace was delivered when Ford killed off project XJ90.

    Things are not looking good for the future. It seems this brand is very close to its final demise. Perhaps it would be more humane to let it expire now rather than allowing it to suffer further indignities at the hands of the vandals who have abused it so artlessly.

  20. The other day I was working at a car park, and someone then drove aggressively into it in an X-type. One woman observing remarked to another “It’s not even a proper Jag, that, it’s a Rover… a pretend Jaguar”. Not quite!

  21. So many poor decisions were made during Speth’s tenure, that one might speculate that he was still working for BMW, and that his prime job was to destroy Jaguar.

    1. The current announcements at JLR almost inevitably lead one to be tempted to draw a very personal summary of Sir Ralph Speth’s work. For quite evidently the company and its owners see the pressing need for a comparatively extensive turnaround with regard to Jaguar (and Thierry Bolloré as the new CEO left the impression with his appearance on February 15th that he is not at all shy about carrying through the upcoming changes with the greatest possible consistency).

      In this context, one repeatedly stumbles upon statements insinuating to Sir Ralph Speth that, with regard to Jaguar, he has been far too busy with strategies that must have slipped into his pocket during his time at BMW. And at least with a view to the product substance of the Jaguar models XE, XF Mk. II and F-PACE, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence to back up this impression.

      At the very least, vehicles have been developed here in which engineers and controllers have clearly taken the lead and designers in particular have obviously had to subordinate themselves to their specifications. This structure clearly has its roots in Munich. This may work for the BMW brand (I’m only basing this on the sales figures now, as I’d like to spare myself a design discussion on BMW at this point), but quite obviously not for Jaguar.

      The result are cars that are certainly inspiring in terms of driving dynamics, but whose overall appearance and ambience are nowhere near as magical as what is needed to justifiably bear the name Jaguar. Especially when it comes to design, one gets the impression that any aspiration and creative ambition has been sacrificed (especially in the case of the XF Mk. II, it is still a mystery to me how such visual and – especially in the interior – qualitative banality could be seriously realised in comparison to its quite remarkable predecessor).

      Perhaps Sir Ralph Speth would have been well advised to look a tad more into the approach with which the great Sir William Lyons breathed this formal magic into his motor cars in his day. For him, it would definitely have been unthinkable to offer the design of the vehicles a place in the second or third row. Instead, various sources unanimously report that his work was always characterised by his personal quest for perfect design.

      Thiery Bolloré seems to have certainly done his homework. It is with great confidence that I keep reading statements and quotes from him these days, according to which, from now on, design will once again be allowed to take the lead. And with the appointment of Gerry McGovern to the Board of Directors, the necessary structures also seem to have been aligned with the new old philosophy with all consistency.

    2. Gerry McGovern and Ian Callum seemed to have little difficulty in getting their ideas across in the old regime.

      If anything, JLR has been too design-led. This has worked well at times (the Evoque, for example) but Land Rover has now completely abandoned its original and traditional market. Time will tell how this pans out, but it surely represents a significant risk.

      I suggest a simpler reason for JLR’s troubles – they simply can’t build the cars properly. Ironically, it was under the much-derided supervision of Ford that JLR seemed to finally sort out their quality problems. Since then, it’s been downhill again, and reports of unreliable Range Rovers etc are so numerous that it’s amazing that rectifying this isn’t Job No.1.

      I quite like Jaguars, but would I buy a used one? Nope… unless it was a Ford-era XJ.

  22. The remaining products slated for the MLA platform, (forthcoming J-Pace and so called “Road Rover”) should be cancelled as well. Haven’t they learned anything from two years of setbacks with the award winning I-Pace? They accrued praise, and renewed interest in the brand for having the correct answer on paper (a clean sheet), while the setbacks were due to cutting corners in execution. The jack-of-all-powertrains MLA platform cuts corners by design, that will be impossible to rectify.

    1. Gooddog: It is my understanding that Bolloré has done exactly that. I suspect that the kind of model proliferation we saw under Dr. Speth’s reign will be no more. Indeed, the noises coming from Gaydon are that the investments made on these programmes are being written off as we speak. There will be no more talk about raising volumes either. The one million vehicle a year business is most likely another necessary casualty of new realities.

  23. Christopher Butt said that, outside the UK, Jaguar’s image was closer to Bentley than that of BMW. Judging from period head-to-head reviews where the XJ40 was pitted against BMW’s excellent E32 7-series and its contemporary Mercedes-Benz S-class, I think Jaguar was seen more as a halfway house between BMW and Bentley – if anything, Jaguar’s engine range reflected that: 2.9 liters (inline-6) to 6.0 V12, compared to the 7-series 3-liter inline-6 to 5-liter V12 and to the 2.6-liter inline-6 to 5.6-liter V8s that were powering Mercedes’ W126 S-class. Of course, all three cars were range-topping flagships whose intended owners were industry captains and high-ranking politicians. But Jaguar’s range was far less diverse, and so was its audience. In this, Jaguar did have a similarity with Bentley, but, in terms of pricing and engine displacement, Jaguar placed itself underneath Bentley.

    1. I´d agree with that – Jaguar as a brand that put some Bentley qualities at a lower (though still high) price range. When you think of the cars´ attributes up until the Ford era, they offered incredible character and charm for moderate amounts of cash – almost absurd, really.

    2. Jaguar were traditionally viewed as such, going back to the 1950s, when Jags were disparagingly referred to amid some quarters as Wardour Street Bentleys. Indeed, even the naming system was based upon that of Bentley – (Mark VII etc)…

    3. I’d mischievously suggest that post-WW2 (and possibly earlier) Jaguar were aiming at the place in the UK market effectively vacated by pre-war Triumph. After the 1944 rescue by Standard Motor Company, Triumph struggled to find its place with lacklustre cars until the irresistible rise of the TR series. The pre-war Triumph Gloria and Dolomite were determinedly upmarket cars, far superior to their cross-city Standard-powered SS rivals.

  24. Having been reminded of the E-Pace I am reminded I had forgotten all about it. Like Mercedes, the launch of a new model use to be an event at Jaguar, like a new Pope almost. You tended to notice them. Of course, Aarhus is not Jaguar central but I might still only have seen two or three and in contrast, I see Ferraris several times a month. However, the possibility arises I have just not noticed E-Paces because as Daniel points out, they are wilfully bland.

    1. Yes, I can still remember when I first saw the XJ6 — in the then very trendy Lanes in Brighton.
      It continues in much mucked-about versions, but I forget what it’s called.

      The E-Pace sometimes looks about right, but often doesn’t.
      Lyons would never have allowed that.

  25. With 8 or 9 years until the sales ban on IC-engined cars, I see little merit in Jaguar continuing as they are, for too many years their cars have not fulfilled the expectations of sales volume. Time to crack on with a clean sheet approach with an EV based range

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