Whatever happened to Land Rover?
Jaguar Land Rover has been suffering from financial bad luck lately. The perfect storm of economic factors have struck: a declining Chinese market, trade tensions, Brexit, and quality control issues at its Chinese factory. Last year, JLR lost a total of $354 million in the fourth quarter alone. It soon sought an emergency $1 billion in funding. Its parent company, Tata Motors, recently announced its own serious financial losses. The good news for JLR is that it’s still up and running and sources claim a turnaround plan is very much in the works. Part of that plan is to seek alliances with established and financially healthy automakers who can help fill in the blanks, so to speak, regarding product and technology.
Autocar reports that Jaguar is planning to launch two new small crossover SUVs within the next few years, but instead of those platforms being developed in-house with help from Land Rover, a phone call was placed to BMW instead.
Not long ago it was reported the German automaker will be supplying JLR with four and six-cylinder engines, along with hybrid versions, in the near future. JLR simply doesn’t have the funds available to design and build these engines themselves. Apparently, BMW also sees financial benefits working with JLR, hence it seriously considering a plan to share its new small FAAR front-wheel-drive platform with JLR. BMW also sees the need for new small crossover SUVs given current and predicted market demand. The FAAR architecture is already in use for the new BMW 1 Series.
The report further claims both of these so-called "baby Jaguars” are still in the early development stages and an official production green light has yet to be given.
Assuming things go as planned, a small SUV and coupe crossover of about the same size will debut in the middle of the next decade. Both will incorporate the "Pace” name somehow. As for Land Rover, it too could benefit by way of the next-generation Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport. Both are also due to arrive around the same time as the proposed Jaguars.
BMW plans to launch its next Mini Countryman and BMW X1 at that time as well, both of which will also be underpinned by FAAR, which has been designed from the get-go to accommodate internal combustion, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric powertrains. Speaking of the latter, moving towards electrification is very expensive, even for major brands like BMW. Having an alliance partner will help offset some of those costs.