Even an I-Pace filled future can't stop people's love for supercharged V8s.
Despite the facade that Jaguar Land Rover's army of good-looking cars puts forth, things haven't been too peachy for JLR lately. This past February, it posted an eye-popping $4.4 billion loss during 2018's Q4. The loss was partially a result of reducing the value of its plants and other investments following a $3.15 billion cost-cutting plan that itself was spurred by a bad Q3 in 2018. So where do the cuts and losses leave the struggling but storied automaker now? According to what JLR CEO Ralf Speth told Automotive News, they leave JLR with jobs to cut, expenditures and investments to reduce, simplification of processes to be made, and with a commitment to stick with gasoline and diesel engines for the foreseeable future.
Speth was even asked whether getting rid of JLR was an option for its parent company, Tata Motors, but he replied that the Indian auto giant was too committed to consider such a large shake-up. Instead, Jaguar Land Rover is going to do its best to focus on the short-term just so it can stay alive. "We are getting down to business anywhere we can improve efficiency in the short term," said Speth. But that doesn't mean JLR can afford to affix blinders to itself and ignore the future. Ignoring the future is what previously landed Jaguar in a position similar to Cadillac, where it had more sedans in its lineup than SUVs and where quality complaints piled high. That's gradually changing, but the pace needs to continue. Expanding at the same time that JLR needs to make cuts, however, is going to be tough. "We would have liked to be in a different place at this point," said Speth in regards to that.
On the expansion side of things, JLR is putting effort into autonomous cars and shared mobility, into renewing and expanding its existing lineup, and into optimizing its current combustion engines even as it ventures into the EV market. The split between the two technologies is essential for Jaguar, which can lay claim to having one of the first, youngest, and most compelling EVs on the market. "I believe we will continue to need this mix," said Speth. "According to industry forecasters, a global share of 20 percent to 30 percent for electrified vehicles is expected by 2025. When you turn this around, it means that 70 percent to 80 percent of all vehicles around the world will have conventional engines." That's good news for the future of Jaguar and Land Rover's loud supercharged V8s (the V6s are on their way out), but the real question remains: will it be enough to save the company?