“Will Tata reinvent Jaguar as the new Tesla?” We asked. You read.
As our new and future products analyst, Glenn Brooks notes, not too long ago, Jaguar’s future looked as though it would be built on direct replacements for existing cars and SUVs, some of which would be low-volume, high-priced sedans. Now, JLR’s losses and a collapse of buyer interest in the XE and XF in Europe and North America means Tata Motors is considering radical change: an all-electric future for the brand.
“Some say that Tata Motors and JLR are looking at the possibility of turning Jaguar into a marque which – by the mid to late 2020s – sells only electric vehicles. In other words, copying Tesla. Would that work though? The aim has to be to create a brand which makes a lot of money from selling well in excess of several hundred thousand cars and SUVs each year. After a decade of TML ownership, Jaguar is still unable to get to the quarter million mark. As for profits, the brand likewise lacks any equivalents of Land Rover’s four high-priced and very successful Range Rover models. Thus, the idea that all options should be considered for Jaguar – an electric-only line-up being a risky but potentially highly profitable one.”
Close behind that, was the news (more like confirmation of months of speculation) Fiat Chrysler is selling its automotive components business, Magneti Marelli to CK Holdings for EUR6.2bn (US$7.1bn). CK Holdings is a subsidiary of Japanese component supplier, Calsonic Kansei and following the closing of the transaction, CK Holdings will be renamed Magneti Marelli CK Holdings. The combined businesses of Calsonic Kansei and Magneti Marelli will create the world’s seventh largest global independent automotive components supplier based on total revenues. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019 and the two businesses will have combined revenues of EUR15.2bn.
Ford Q3 results out this week were eagerly awaited and editor Dave Leggett correctly predicted another significant profit decline and considered in detail the underlying factors. Came Wednesday night (for us) and the automaker indeed posted a lower profit – as high commodity costs and poor performance in China dented the bottom line. However, Ford maintained its full year earnings forecast and its share price on the NYSE recovered a daily 4.88% decline in after hours trading as investors weighed a set of results that were nevertheless slightly better than forecast, with domestic market performance a notable positive (though FCA did outsell the Blue Oval in September).
I was intrigued to learn Hyundai Motor Group (HMG), together with affiliate Kia Motors, was innovating with robotics technology through development of the Hyundai Vest Exoskeleton (H-VEX) wearable industrial robots. The automaker said that, following a demonstration of its Hyundai Chairless Exoskeleton (H-CEX) at a North American factory last August (it has a Hyundai car assembly plant in Alabama and a Kia facility in Georgia), the company plans “to verify H-VEX’s success through extensive testing at the end of 2018”. I saw a demonstration of similar tech at BMW in Munich a couple of years ago (designed primarily, in that case, to keep valuable, highly skilled older workers in physically demanding manual labour jobs longer) and Ford has also shown off assembly line workers testing new upper body exoskeletal technology which helps lessen the chance of fatigue or injury while performing overhead tasks.
Our supplier specialist Simon Warburton recently interviewed Michelle Wen, a new PSA Group executive vice president of global purchasing & supplier quality, for Vauxhall/Opel, who has held a number of senior managing positions with blue-chip companies across various industries including the automotive business. Well worth a read.
Our motor show debut lists are always updating. Right now, Los Angeles is in the sights – the redesigned 2019 Maxima is this week’s announcement.
Have a nice weekend.
Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com