Magazine article Management Today

Company Vitae: Jaguar Land Rover

Magazine article Management Today

Company Vitae: Jaguar Land Rover

Article excerpt

It has had a chequered past but the UK's largest luxury carmaker is on the up again. Here's how it happened

Formative years

JLR is pretty much all that's left of an entire industry, so its roots are deep and tangled. The Rover bit is the oldest name still over the door, first applied to bicycles by the Coventry firm of Starley & Sutton in the late 19th century. What would Rover's cycling pioneers make of the fact that it is now renowned as the inventor of the Chelsea tractor? The Range Rover of 1974 started that luxury 4x4 ball rolling.

Jaguar also started on two wheels, founded by William Lyons as Swallow Sidecars (SS) in 1922. Renamed Jaguar after WWII for obvious reasons, it became the UK's leading maker of 'affordable' luxury and sports cars, with models like the XK120, E-type and XJ6. Jags were the wheels of choice for every 1960s bank robber.

Recent history

Both Jaguar and Land Rover survived - just - the ravages of British Leyland in the 1970s, when Red Robbo seemed to be running the company Privatised in 1984, Jaguar was bought by Ford in 1989, but Rover struggled on in public hands as Austin-Rover, purveyor of the Montego and Maestro. Acquired by BMW in 1994, the Rover Group's brief renaissance ended when its German owner, having sunk millions into new plant and models, realised its wunderplan wasn't a goer. The group was broken up in 2000 and Land Rover joined Jag in Ford's Premier Auto Group. Both brands were eventually sold to Tata Group for dollars 2.3bn in 2008, when JLR was formed. …

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