The North American operations of Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover are being combined into a new organisation within Ford's Premier Automotive Group that will give the three brands what one executive called "critical mass".

Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover North America will combine sales, marketing, communications, franchise development, distribution, parts and customer service from September 1, 2001 and will be headquartered at the new Premier Automotive Group facility in Irvine, California.

"Combining our British marques in North America makes great sense for our retailers, customers and investors, while creating an environment where they can grow stronger as individual brands," said PAG president Dr Wolfgang Reitzle.

The current president of Jaguar North America, Mike O'Driscoll, is now president of the new grouping, responsible for all sales, marketing, franchise development and customer service activities in North America across all three companies.

Land Rover North America president Howard Mosher will retire in 2002 but will continue in his current role until then.

"This is a critical period of growth for all three marques in North America. With the integration of operations under this new organisation, we will be better placed to accelerate our sales and distribution plans for all three marques, as well as take the best from each company to deliver a world-class service to our retailers and customers," O'Driscoll said.

"With all three British marques operating together, we will start to achieve the critical mass required to compete head-to-head with other premium car and truck manufacturers. To be successful in the premium market, you need to be able to offer a broad range of vehicles. With Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover, we are able to offer that range without diluting the core values of each individual marque."

All three companies will continue to operate selected functions out of their existing east coast offices until at least mid-2002. At that time, Premier Automotive Group intends that Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover will establish a single consolidated east coast operations centre in Mahwah, New Jersey.

The Land Rover University and Technical Training Centre in Lanham, Maryland, will be retained at its current location.

The executive director of the Premier Automotive Group, Vic Doolan, said Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover were a very natural fit.

"They all share a similar culture and philosophy combined with a product range that is complementary and with virtually no overlap. Historically, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover retailers have often been co-located on single sites. Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover North America will allow us to bring synergies where they make sense for our customers and retailers while retaining each marques' unique culture and identity."

In addition to the consolidation of the British marques, a new group will be formed to provide shared services to all the European brands, including Volvo, and selected services to Lincoln Mercury. These functions include Human Resources, Finance, Information Technology and Retail Transformation.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

Automotive regional report: North America

The world's car manufacturers: A financial and operating review