PAG brands –>Jonathan Browning, Managing Director of Jaguar Cars has resigned. The new Managing Director will be Mike Beasley, currently Jaguar’s Executive Director responsible for Engineering and Manufacturing.
Thanking Jonathan Browning for his major contribution to Jaguar’s development, Wolfgang Reitzle said: “Jonathan joined Jaguar at a crucial stage in the company’s development. Whilst he has been Managing Director, he has led the Jaguar team to successive years of record growth and has successfully launched the new X-Type – the most important new car in Jaguar’s history. The transformation of the Halewood plant to produce the X-Type was a massive achievement. Jonathan has also laid very solid foundations for the future growth of the company.”
News of the resignation coincided with the news that Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin are to set up a combined Operating Committee to lead the three individual companies.
The creeping consolidation of operations between the three British-based companies in the Premier Automotive Group is thought to be a significant factor behind Browning’s departure.
Members of the management teams from Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin will form the new Committee. Bob Dover, currently Chairman and Chief Executive of Land Rover, will lead this Operating Committee.
Announcing the formation of the Operating Committee Wolfgang Reitzle, President
of the Premier Automotive Group said: “Our overriding priority is to maintain
the unique and individual characteristics and core marque values of the individual
brands’ products. The future growth of Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin
however depends on all three companies jointly taking maximum advantage of
the skills, expertise and best practices which exist in each of those companies.
The new Operating Committee will allow us to do that in the most effective
Industry sources today told just-auto.com that Jaguar is expected to soon
move some engineering and possibly manufacturing operations to Land Rover#;s
Gaydon engineering and marketing headquarters in Warwickshire, about 30 miles
from the current base in nearby Coventry.
The large Gaydon complex, once a military airbase, was originally developed
as British Leyland#;s research headquarters and test track and was more
recently home to the Rover Group engineering centre.
When BMW last year sold Rover to a private consortium and Land Rover to Ford,
the Rover engineering operations were quickly moved to the company#;s
factory complex in Birmingham while Ford transferred Land Rover#;s engineering
and marketing staff from Solihull to Gaydon.
Just-auto.com understands that there is still plenty of room for expansion
at Gaydon and there have been rumours that Aston Martin will establish a manufacturing
operation there to produce a planned range of new, sportscar models.
Jaguar UK officials could not be reached for comment.
The latest developments in Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover#;s home
market comes soon after their North American operations were combined into
a new organisation within Ford’s Premier Automotive Group on September 1.
At the time the move was announced, a senior executive told Reuters that
the consolidation – which included moving each brand#;s headquarters
from New Jersey to Irvine, California, to share an office complex with Ford#;s
Lincoln-Mercury division – would give the three brands “critical
Announcing the consolidation, Reitzle said: “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.”
The president of Jaguar North America, Mike O’Driscoll, became president
of the new North American group, in charge of sales, marketing, franchise
development and customer service for all three companies.
Current Land Rover North America president Howard Mosher was a high-profile
casualty of the consolidation – he is to ‘retire#; –Ford#;s
words – in 2002.
Ford is also consolidating PAG operations in Australia. Last July, it announced
that the head offices of Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover would move to a shared
headquarters in Sydney early next year.
Announcing the move, a Volvo Australia spokesman told Reuters that the management
and most of the operations would be kept separate, but the companies would
gain “efficiencies and economies by sharing premises and common services,
such as IT, office support, human resources and a technical training centre”.
“It is important to note that while the companies will share some resources,
they are distinctly different brands, which will continue to market highly
individual products,” the spokesman added.