He's got a huge task ahead of him.
Up until last month, Jaguar Land Rover was experiencing major financial difficulties. The good news is that Jaguar secured a $705 million loan with Chinese lenders that should help keep the ship afloat for the time being. But one question remained: who will be steering that ship after Ralf Speth retires? Today, we have an answer.
Tata Motors, Jaguar Land Rover's parent company, has announced Thierry Bollore will be the new CEO of the luxury automaker. He will replace Speth at the helm on September 10. Bollore has a long history in the auto industry, most recently serving as Renault CEO until last October when he was fired as part of a post-Carlos Ghosn era executive shakeup.
His biggest challenge as JLR's CEO will be to continue getting costs under control while simultaneously developing more electric vehicles. The upcoming next-generation and all-electric Jaguar XJ flagship sedan is only the beginning.
"Jaguar Land Rover is known around the world for its peerless brand heritage, exquisite design and deep engineering integrity," Bollore said. "It will be my privilege to lead this fantastic company through what continues to be the most testing time of our generation."
Bollore will also need to develop a plan to revitalize the Jaguar brand, which currently has three slow-selling sedans in its lineup. A previous rumor suggested the Jaguar XE and XF could be combined into a single model when their current lifecycles end. The good news for Bollore is that Land Rover remains strong. The all-new Land Rover Defender, for example, is in high demand.
In fact, Bollore will need to tackle the issue of making sure the Defender factory in Slovakia can return to regular production despite the pandemic. Not having enough Defenders to sell would be a huge problem.
Another subject of Bollore's attention will be the relationship with BMW. If you recall, JLR and BMW had been collaborating on new drivetrain technologies to create major cost-savings for both companies. Will Bollore maintain that relationship? Expand it? BMW also fairly recently appointed a new CEO so time will tell on that matter.
JLR still faces immense challenges and having an experienced industry executive running the show is vital.