Without Ford’s technologies, JLR have a mountain to climb

Posted on: Jan 23, 2013 - 3:48pm IST

Ever since Tata Motors purchased Jaguar-Land Rover from Ford (for about $2.3 billion), the Brit’s tides turned in its favor. They’ve had, and continue to have a winning streak. With every single launch since then, it’s as though what JLR has touched, has turned to gold.

New Range Rover Launched

Take the latest offering from Land Rover – The Range Rover. True, that it is regarded as the world’s best off-roader. But the level of technology and sophistication that went into it, is even more. The car is ligher than its predecessor by more than 400 kg!

And let’s not forget the Range Rover Evoque which has become a bit of a status icon in most parts of the globe.

Jaguar have also had an exciting ride. With demand for the XF and XJ sedans increasing on one side, to the opening of a Nürburgring test center to develop the F-Type, the ‘cat’ seems to be very busy eating big fish.

That brings me to the big question. What next? You see, Ford had something to do with all the projects I mentioned above. Whether it was something as minuscule as ticking a checklist, or something as big as developing an all new model from scratch (the XF being the prime example), Ford had a hand in it.

In fact, Tata have played a bit of a reclusive role with JLR. They’ve provided the necessary finance, they’ve provided the necessary encouragement. That’s about it. Tata haven’t exactly jumped inside the factory to get their hands greasy and help develop a next gen mini SUV for JLR.

So we come to the question again. How exactly does JLR plan on developing their future products independently? Yes, the experience gained from developing the aluminium shell of the new Range Rover may go as far to help them develop the structure for a new car. But, then what? What about the powertrains?

Even Tata Motors wants JLR to grow independently. In fact, it is reported that JLR is working towards developing in-house engine and transmission technology by 2015 involving Tata’s engineers. An annual investment of £ 1.5 billion until 2017 will go to making new products, says JLR CEO Ralph Speth.

At the moment a lot of its engines are still bought from Ford and JLR are yet to release a brand new model (developed and engineered) with Tata at the wheels. With sales rising 30% to 357,773 units in 2012, JLR need to find their feet fast.

[Source – 4wheelsnews.com]

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19 thoughts on “Without Ford’s technologies, JLR have a mountain to climb

  1. sekhar says:

    Can any body clarify authentically if 2179 cc engines fitted in TATA SAFARI STORME and Land Rover Freelander are same?

    1. Hi Sekhar, no these two engines are different, though the displacement is similar.

  2. Dark Knight says:

    To clarify all the stories this far…

    Ford overpaid for JLR , twice the price that it sold to TML.
    Prerecession Ford was doing badly in US and wanted to augment its luxury SUV divn. With LR which was profitable even under Ford. It was Jaguar losses that weighed Ford down so Ford decided to sell JLR as a package to finance its recovery in the US.and focus on core ops…Just as it divested Aston M and Kia.

    TML got a JLR at a low recession price with continued Tech support and engines from Ford. This was vital as To turnaround Jag and TML cash alone would not have sufficed (as it was borrowed cash)

    When the equity buyer overpays for a stagnant firm to combine with a complementary firm with more overseas exposure, expect another merge, purge and submerge…

  3. sandy says:

    Wow… High profile comments. Now, New Jaguar XF 2.2 liter 190ps Diesel is locally built at Pune by Tata. I want to know, whose 2.2 liter diesel does XF actually carries under its bonnet?

    1. S Pani says:

      The 2.2L diesel is actually an engine mnufactured and developed by a partnership among Ford and PSA Citroen, but also used in the XF as well as the LandRover Freelander, Defender and Range Rover Evoque.

      And the engine is not made in India, but imported to India.

    2. sandy says:

      Thanks S Pani. Actually I found the exact figure of 2.2 liter as 2179cc, and this magical figure is shared by Land Rover, Jaguar, Tata(Safari, Storme, Aria, Sumo Grande) and Mahindra(Scorpio mHawk, Xylo mHawk and XUV5OO). Is this the coincidence or there is something cooking?

    3. S Pani says:

      It’s not actually a co-incidence at all. All those engines have been developed based on an old 2.2L Peugeot engine. Tata and Mahindra used a firm called AVL to develop their engines which probably used the Peugeot engine as a base, while JLR just use the newer generation of that engine, as it was developed in collaboration with Ford.

    4. sandy says:

      Thanks once again S Pani for this important piece of information. 🙂

  4. Nikhil says:

    Another wannabe ford fan written article!!

    What about the offroad capabilities? What about the all aluminum chassis? What about the 500 mm water vading capacity of JLR SUV’s

    If ford was so great, their cars themselves would not have 100’s of recalls they have in the US. FORD is known as FIX OR REPAIR DAILY here in the US.

    Get Real: Ford is only responsible for engines which were also led to the development by JLR itself

  5. Rahul says:

    I would like to see “reverse flow of knowledge”; TATA cars becoming like JLR cars and not at all the other way round, Please.

    Can you even imagine Range Rover Evoque CR4 ??

  6. Mohammed says:

    Poorly reported article by a Ford fan who is plain jealous of JLR’s massive success across the globe.

    JLR, when it was under Ford, had great engineers and now continues to have exciting talent under Tata’s. And, they will continue to give path breaking stuff in the future too.

    JLR designers have, time and again, spoke about Ratan Tata’s involvement in the development of the new range of vehicles. It’s actually funny that people are in the dark about how Tata’s managed such a dramatic turn around and hence keeps writing negative imaginative stories about JLR & Tata’s 🙂

    1. JK says:

      This story is factually right, in fact JLR’s own managers have stated that Tata staying away from the overseas micro-involvement have left them in an autonomous state while making decisions, a key reason to the both the brand’s recovery. Under Ford’s ownership, there was this limitation. Ratan Tata’s involvement in the design would be down to a few suggestions, the designs are penned by Ian Callum and Gerry McGovern.

      Most of the product successes that are talked about here were already in the development pipeline handed over by Ford when Tata bought the company from them. It takes 4-5 years for a product to travel from the drawing board to reality.

      1. S Pani says:

        True, they were in the pipeline from the Ford era. But the designs, except for the engines, were not hand me downs from Ford R&D. They were primarily in house designs.

        In fact according to most reports, JLR’s engineers seem to have found a lot more support, capital and otherwise, for their various projects from Tata management than they had under Ford management.

    2. Mathew John says:

      Yes the report is 100% right and true that till today and tomorrow all engines come from Ford with ford’s technology. Hence it was under the control of Ford, it’s Ford’s engineers who worked on the engines and even some patents are with Ford itself(pertaining to engines). Ford is committed to supply engines without disruption till such a date…Tata says no. Tata has earlier tried to join hands with Fiat Italy to work on engines….but did not materialise. The engine plant is on cards…but technology….not yet concrete.

  7. S Pani says:

    I think this is being a bit too harsh on both TML and JLR.

    True, most almost all the product tech that is in use in today’s JLR is largely based out of the stuff from the Ford era.

    But lets not forget, its not like Ford gave those technologies to JLR to use. Most of it was actually developed by JLR’s engineers at their R&D centres.

    The only real tech that was, and still is, being borrowed from Ford was engines. Thus pretty much all of JLR’s engines are actually Ford engines, with slightly different tuning and JLR’s ZF collaborated 8-speed transmissions.

    But even with the engines, despite the fact that the engines come from Ford, keep in mind the engines that JLR use are pretty much exclusive to them and are not used anywhere else.

    True, TML cant really provide as much technological help to JLR as Ford could have, but still I dont think JLR needed so much technical help, as they needed capital and better management. TML can provide that very well, and has done that in the past 4 years now.

    No matter what we say, cars like the new Range Rover, or the F-type barely existed as concepts before the TML era. In fact, there was completely no talk of a sportscar from Jag before Tata took the reigns.

    So even there is no real challenge for JLR to developing products outside the Ford umbrella.

    1. JK says:

      The Ford EUCD (European C/D Class) platform that lies under the Evoque and Freelander is Ford’s property. This means the core hardware is Ford’s. The Freelander and the Evoque, two of the biggest hits of Land Rover, may not have arrived if Ford and its technologies weren’t in the frame.

      1. brahma says:

        i think the pople who have written this article may have benn bribed by other companies or jealous about tml success of jlr and more over tata bought jlr with intellectual property rights sharing and patents etc it means without ford help jlr finds it difficult to develop new things and no one will shed 2.7 bn for the sake of names and especially a group like tata group will not do it with out economic gains and future

      2. S Pani says:

        I doubt its Ford property exclusively now. With the sale of LR, they would have had to sell the rights to that chassis as well as the LR vehicles were based on them.

        Anyway, you seem to be missing the point. The point is that JLR R&D was not twiddling their thumbs during Ford era, and just re-badging and making small changes to Ford components to bring out new vehicles.

        Did you expect Tata to pay over 2billion dollars and let go of any technology that Ford shared during its ownership??

        Overall, the point is there doesnt seem to be anything to suggest that JLR R&D dont have the capability or are going to struggle to make new generation cars in the years to come.

        Overall, despite the withdrawal of Ford it’s not like the R&D process of the last 4 years has come to a standstill, and they have just been launching products that were already fully developed and ready to be sold. And neither has Tata shown any stinginess in investing money to develop the next generation of technologies and products for JLR. JLR has already said that the next generation of vehicles are almost sure to use in-house engines.

        So this article is just one of a pessimist and a perennial skeptic who is just not able to come to terms with the fact that JLR is flourishing and is on a path to ever-growing successes under the management of a automotive company of the third world.

      3. Mohammed says:

        So this article is just one of a pessimist and a perennial skeptic who is just not able to come to terms with the fact that JLR is flourishing and is on a path to ever-growing successes under the management of a automotive company of the third world. >>> I completely agree with Pani’s statement !!!

        a) Why did Ford sell off JLR if they had such an interesting product pipe line? So that’s Ford’s massive failure and Tata’s grand success, isnt?

        b)If Ford was micro managing JLR, resulting in poor performance and Tata has empowered JLR to a great extent, understanding, accepting the talent they have and allowing the talent to blossom giving them space,resulting in stupendous sales numbers globally- isn’t that Ford’s massive failure and Tata’s grand success? Isn’t that management and leadership is all about? Isn’t that running a company is all about?

        c) Ford providing engines for JLR is not an unusual news or a strange trend as such. Technology sharing is quite common in the global auto scene.

        d) The bottom line is Ford is regretting about lost opportunities and Tata’s are celebrating because they made it count. They took an ailing company under their wings and made it fly like a phoenix.

        e) JLR will rule the luxury segment globally in the next 10 years time.

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