It's a good move since Jaguar is going more upmarket.
Philip Koehn, Rolls-Royce's former lead engineer, has been named Jaguar's new managing director.
Koehn has an impressive resume, starting his career at BMW, where he spent 13 years. Following that, he joined Rolls-Royce for five years and then went over to the now-bankrupt Borgward. He joined Jaguar in May 2019, leaving Borgward after just seven months.
The German will lead Jaguar through its current slump while it works on an all-new range based on the newly-designed Panthera platform. These models are only expected to arrive in 2025, so Koehn has his work cut out for him. Besides streamlining existing models, Jaguar doesn't really have anything new to offer, and its electric I-Pace has already fallen behind the current top-selling EVs in range.
Still, Koehn's experience will help Jaguar become a real competitor to the likes of Bentley and Aston Martin. Koehn was employed by Rolls-Royce while it was designing the Architecture of Luxury platform, which underpins the current Phantom and the all-electric Spectre.
Koehn also understands British brands thanks to his stint at Rolls-Royce. Autocar spoke to Koehn during his time at Rolls-Royce years back. "We learned that by using the 7 Series platform, we were asking components to deliver things they weren't intended to do, which meant the promised economies of scale weren't as viable as we first thought," said Koehn.
The above comment is great news for Jaguar because it means that Koehn understands platform limitations and will therefore avoid reusing existing designs and components; an all-new approach is required if Jaguar is to challenge ultra-luxury brands.
We know Jaguar is moving more upmarket and that Panthera will be the basis of all-new models. These new models will not rely on previous models for inspiration but will take the famous British brand in an entirely new direction. We've already seen this new philosophy with the Land Rover Defender, which looks nothing like the agricultural 4x4 it replaced.
The British brand also spent loads of money hiring software engineers that Elon Musk fired from Twitter. Jag will also remain based in Britain, and the work on converting the Halewood factory in the UK has begun.
While Koehn has been announced as the new MD for Jaguar, Jaguar Land Rover has yet to announce a new CEO. JLR's former CEO, Thierry Bollore, resigned after two years on the job. The manufacturer's poor handling of the semiconductor shortage appears to be the main reason behind his resignation, but whoever replaces him will face more than just supply challenges.