Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced that it plans to have transitioned the Jaguar side of the business entirely to electric vehicles by 2025. Meanwhile, the more profitable Land Rover brand will be receiving its very first EV sometime in 2024. The plan is backed by a £2.5 billion (roughly $3.5 billion USD) investment.
As usual, take these promises with a grain of salt. Practically every manufacturer has underdelivered when it comes to electrification and features existing under the catch-all mobility tag. Jaguar’s current battery-electric vehicle, the I-Pace, hasn’t exactly been a smash hit and its construction is actually contracted out to Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. Jag also recently abandoned the new XJ model, which has been in development for years. Ironically, the car was supposed to become the brand’s first all-electric sedan.
That is definitely at odds with its plan of providing an electric-only future. But the company explained that the model designation probably won’t be scrapped and may even reappear under a new platform (dedicated entirely to EVs) that’s likely to underpin all future Jaguars.
While JLR leadership absolutely wants to frame it as though Land Rover will likewise be moving toward ditching the internal combustion engine, its entire business is devoted to maintaining its luxury appeal and rugged past. Frankly, EVs might not be a good fit for the brand until they’re capable of enduring the kind of severe abuse and off-road shenanigans modern Land Rover owners assume their car can. JLR may also be hedging its bets. If world governments are successful in their banning of liquid-fueled automobiles, Jaguar will suddenly become the hotter property. If not, Land Rover will be there to pick up the slack for the foreseeable future.
That’s assuming JLR stays in relatively good health, which has not been the case. But parent company Tata Motors announced that a better than anticipated sales recovery in China helped it turn a modest profit. Despite hemorrhaging cash and jobs at a rate that made it look as though the automaker was doomed, Tata announced JLR had turned a £439-million (pre-tax) profit in the final quarter of 2020. If it can maintain that momentum through what’s already shaping up to be another difficult year, then its restructuring has definitely been working. Otherwise, it will have to be placed on deathwatch.
Though don’t think everything hinges on electrification vs combustion. Much of the current dialogue automakers are sharing with the public involves bolstering services and connectivity. Often masked by bold promises about carbon reductions and pivoting powertrains, there’s usually some mention of leveraging connected services, data acquisition, and software development for future profits. Jaguar Land Rover said it would be cooperating with Tata on all fronts.
“Our vision is clear… to become the creator of the world’s most desirable luxury vehicles and services for the most discerning of customer,” JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré noted in the release.