Jaguar is going all-electric under JLRs new product strategy with the near-production-ready XJ flagship replacement shelved and the nameplates future in doubt

Jaguar is going all-electric under JLR's new product strategy with the near-production-ready XJ flagship replacement shelved and the nameplate's future in doubt

News Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) had confirmed a further 2,000 job cuts this year, following the automaker's announcement the Jaguar brand would be all-electric by 2025, was the most-read article on just-auto this week. Last week, JLR outlined its 'Reimagine' strategy, which included plans to achieve net-zero emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039. Thierry Bollore, JLR CEO, said: "We are harnessing those ingredients today to reimagine the business, the two brands and the customer experience of tomorrow. The Reimagine strategy allows us to enhance and celebrate that uniqueness like never before. Together, we can design an even more sustainable and positive impact on the world around us." Sadly, such corporate-speak words as 'reimagine' and 'transformation' are usually shorthand for 'we're going to cut jobs' but, especially in the upcoming, challenging post-COVID days ahead of the auto industry, needs must.

The first month of light vehicle sales for 2021 have now been collated for global markets. They show a marginal rise of 0.6% when compared with last year. The SAAR came in at 81.46m, the lowest since June 2020, and slightly below the level of January 2020 due to a different balance to regional sales.
The geographic disparity in sales performance is most demonstrated by the results in Europe. For the region as a whole sales fell 20.4%, but this partially hid a steeper fall in lockdown-affected West European markets of 23.5%. Here, key markets such as the UK, Spain and Germany all fell in excess of 30% in January. North America's sales also fell. The US was the least affected there with sales down by just 3.7%, but sales in Canada and Mexico dropped by a combined 23.3%.

Magna this week announced it had broken ground on a new manufacturing facility in St. Clair, Michigan, that will build complex battery enclosures for General Motors' upcoming 2022 GMC Hummer EV. The factory will produce battery enclosures for the revived Hummer, now to be sold, as a gigantic, pure EV pickup truck, under the GMC commercial vehicle brand (having seen the promotional video, I'd love one but perhaps not in UK with our narrow roads and parking spaces). Construction of the 345,000 sq ft facility, named Magna Electric Vehicle Structures, is costing US$70m and is expected to bring 300 jobs to the city over the next five years.

With the move to electrification now really gaining pace, not least because of government edict, our analysts here at GlobalData are keeping close eye on developments. This week: Ford is the latest global automaker to commit to a bold electrification strategy. The US company has announced that, by mid-2026, all of its models sold in Europe will be capable of zero-emissions driving using either battery-electric or hybrid-electric powertrains. Doubling down on the shift away from combustion engines, the automaker goes on to say that, by 2030, all its vehicles sold in Europe will be fully electric. In addition, the company's popular range of commercial vehicles will all be capable of zero-emissions driving by 2024, with Ford saying it expects two thirds of commercial vehicle sales by 2030 to be either fully electric or plug-in hybrid. 2020 marked the sixth consecutive year of Ford's leadership in the European commercial vehicle market – a position likely to be cemented by further collaborations with commercial vehicle partner Volkswagen and its Ford Otosan production base in Turkey. To ensure it has the production network necessary to fulfil its ambitious plans, Ford will lean on its European production base in Cologne, Germany. It plans to invest at least $1bn into the facility to equip it to manufacture electric vehicles. If it keeps to its current schedule, Ford's first European-built volume-production electric vehicle will leave the line in Cologne by 2023. This investment is part of a wider commitment to spend around $22bn globally by 2025 to realise Ford's electrification ambitions – twice the amount the company had previously committed to the project.

Following on nicely from that came this: Ford's plant in Romania could produce electric cars in the coming years in the context of the automaker's European unit's new strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Stuart Rowley, president of Ford Europe has implied, according to local reports. "The plant in Craiova is a success story. We launched the new Puma there at the beginning of last year. The model is a hit in the market, and most units delivered use mild-hybrid technology. We will return in the coming months with details about the future," Rowley told Romanian media.

An actual volume production Fisker model has been a long time in the gestation period but be patient for, like Christmas, it (or they) is coming. Having already sorted a deal with Jaguar I-Pace contract manufacturer Magna, to build the Ocean luxury SUV, Fisker this week announced a second contract, with iPhone maker Foxconn in Taiwan, to build another, as yet unnamed and detailed, new model. That led me to ask if this also reflects a new approach from EV startups - contract rather than in-house build? At Fisker, global paid reservations for the Ocean - so far revealed only in concept form - have passed 10,400 with a "production-intent prototype" due for reveal next summer ahead of a production start in the fourth quarter of 2022. The Ocean will use a modified version of a Magna-developed EV platform. Now comes this second Fisker EV which Foxconn will build. It is cellphone giant Apple's key contract assembler and will work with its customer to 'co-develop' a vehicle to "pioneer a new market segment and deliver industry-first innovations". That'll be worth waiting for, I should think.

Nissan is withdrawing its popular Navara pickup truck from the UK and Europe just as a facelifted model line goes on sale in other world markets, according to a UK media report this week. Nissan confirmed to UK publication Professional Pickup & 4×4 the heavily revised 2021 Navara, an updated model with new styling and enhanced safety equipment, would not be coming to the UK, with the automaker continuing to offer the current generation model instead. Sources told the website the current generation Nissan model would cease to be available early in 2022, with no replacement planned. The move reflects the recent surprise Mitsubishi Motors decision not to launch any more new models in Europe or the UK - it also sells a popular, long-running pickup line, and direct Navara rival, called the L200. There was a hint earlier this week MMC might already be reconsidering that decision - at least partly - after it was reported to be considering a plan to source a model from its alliance partner Renault to sell in Europe, according to reports in Japan. Those reports suggested the plan could see the Japanese automaker maintain a stronger presence in Europe than had previously been envisaged.

Finally, given the unfortunate news from California this week, involving a well known pro golfer and a Genesis SUV, you might be interested in our recent look at Hyundai's new premium brand, not yet on sale here in UK, or Europe. Speedy recovery and return to the courses, Tiger.

Have a nice weekend.