The recent Tata’s acquisition of the Jaguar and the Rover brand of cars has the automobile world buzzing. Dealers in the US cried out foul (read racist) about the car brand owners being from a “third-world” country. I would personally like to punch the dealers on their face, but that’s just violent me
However this article in DNA poses a very interesting
Has the Jaguar lost the status race to the Mercedes Benzes, BMWs and Audis of the world?
But Jaguar is altogether more difficult. It has global awareness but is not a global brand – outside the USA (which accounts for 25 per cent of sales) and the UK, Jaguars are bought in small numbers. And it haemorrhages money. As a premium brand, there is no need for a Jaguar as there is with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Yet, at the same time, it cannot compete head-on with the benchmark German brands.[link]
Jaguar has been one of the few legendary brands from the UK that is still around in the 21st century. Rolls Royce and Bentley went the German way, and Jaguar went the American way. However and inspite of the American acquisition, Jaguar survived. And if you have driven one, you will know why.
Over the years I have had a chance to drive a few Jaguars, once as a rental, and a few times as a test drive. And believe me, its a fantastic car to drive. The handling and steering is in the same legendary league as an Audi, and power and road holding is on par with any Mercedes. The Jaguar Xj8 is one of my favorite cars and this autumn, I came soooooo close to buying a beautiful Jaguar XJ 12 Sports Coupe. Went to the dealer and drove it around. The 12 cylinders made the car literally fly. It was only some bad karma and a big dose from the missus that somehow made me hesitate and I did not get it. Well there is always next year, no !
However coming back to the article on DNA. Jaguar in the last few years has lost a lot of its charm after Ford took it over. Ford is one of the big three American car companies. However anyone with a basic knowledge of cars will know that American cars are at the bottom of the pit when it comes to design, build and rideability. The less said about American cars the better. And therefore it was no surprise that Ford brought about the same boring culture onto Jaguar.
In the last decade, the Jaguar lost its fine sharp lines and the classic looks that are only Jaguar. It developed curves especially in the front and the whole beautiful look was tossed out.
At least with the Tata’s at the helm, I am sure that the old world charm and legacy that made Jaguars legendary, will be resurrected. Yes you can argue that Tata’s is a truck manufacturer who moved into cars and therefore what sensibilities will that bring ? However Tata’s have forayed into cars with a complete different set of mind, unlike say Mahindra.
Hopefully we will see the 2010 Jaguar line recapture its old charm and beauty and join the premier brands of the world at the top of the pack, where it belongs.