Welcome to Jaguar Land Rover, Thierry Bollore!
As JLR’s new CEO, you hold the reins of two of the industry’s most storied brands. Land Rover, the industry’s sole manufacturer of premium SUVs only, could not be better positioned to prosper as consumers ditch sedans for rugged, go-anywhere vehicles and as luxury light trucks replace luxury cars.
Jaguar has the most diverse lineup in the brand’s nine-decade history. They are the best-built, most technologically advanced and aerodynamic, and fastest Jaguars ever made.
With fresh products, such as the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Defender, selling well and the next-generation Range Rover coming, as well as the new electric Jaguar XJ flagship, you take over a company that your predecessor, Ralf Speth, left poised to grow.
But there are huge challenges, some in your control, and some — such as Britain’s trading relationship with the European Union — that are not.
Of the things you can influence, perhaps none is more important than the 800- pound gorilla in JLR’s garage: quality. For nearly the entire existence of both brands, neither has ever been a dependable leader in quality. There have been rare forays into the top 10 of J.D. Power and Associates’ quality rankings, but that has never been consistent. And the image of spotty quality, a vestige of British Leyland days, still lingers.
May I gently suggest that you make JLR becoming one of the industry’s quality leaders one of your highest priorities? There will be costs associated with driving the defects out, but the payoff is lower warranty costs, happier customers and, hopefully, higher sales.
Plotting Jaguar’s future, though, will likely be the toughest undertaking on your immediate agenda. Most everyone loves the idea of a Jaguar — the image of the E-Type just will not fade — but are enough people actually buying them to justify further investment?
Jaguar, which shares platforms with Land Rover vehicles, is needed for economies of scale, so the brand must live. Does Jaguar pivot to becoming an all-electric brand? Should the dormant Rover marque be revived and parked under Jaguar as an upscale mass-market brand to compete with Volkswagen, Peugeot, etc.? Tough decisions.
As for Land Rover’s product portfolio: Don’t change a thing.