There is “no question” of commitment from their minders, it seems.
It’s a tough time to be Jaguar-Land Rover right now. The auto industry is seeing a new dawn in electrification, there’s the side-quest of vehicular autonomy, and all the while there’s the increasing demand of better quality and reliability coming from consumers. If you’re the size of Daimler or Volkswagen Group you can just take this all in your stride (with the latter still able to shrug off billions in Dieselgate-related fines) but when you’re a relatively-small British automaker, it becomes a bigger issue.
This is despite JLR being backed by one of India’s most industrious companies, the Tata Group. Quality woes in China, Brexit concerns, and the widespread abandonment of diesel technology has left the British company on the financial back foot, which is not where one wants to be when investing “massively” in autonomous driving and Mobility 2.0.
German publication Automobilewoche sat down with JLR supremo Ralf Speth to iron out some of the rumours that have been flying around. Asked about Tata’s possible intent to divest their stake in the British automaker to drum up capital, he replied:
“[The potential sale of JLR] is something you should ask the Tata supervisory board. I can tell you this: There is no question that the Tatas are giving Jaguar-Land Rover their full support. Ratan Tata personally and the Tata Group are very closely tied to JLR.” – Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar-Land Rover
In light of waning support and tighter budgets, JLR’s been engaged in activities to make them as lean as humanly possible for quite some time. There’s reason behind this, Speth reveals.
“Our current improvement program, which focuses on profitability and cash, has been underway since 2018. We are reducing investments and expenditures, eliminating complexity and tightening the processes. We are getting down to business anywhere we can improve efficiency in the short-term. We are also carrying out a separate program for systemic & strategic improvements in operating efficiency.” – Ralf Spef, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar-Land Rover
JLR knows that they’re not as strong as they once were, with their continued efforts to prepare for the future while renewing their lineup of today hampered by their current financial position. Speth admits that they “would have liked to be in a different place” as they approached this juncture in the industry, but they’re a plucky British brand after all, and so plucky they shall be. Until they can’t be, that is.