Currently reading: Jaguar Land Rover CEO on chips, EVs, quality and Discovery
JLR boss Thierry Bollore gives an update on how his ambitious Reimagine plan is going

Thierry Bolloré, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, has proved to be something of a Goodwood superfan. He has attended most Goodwood events since he arrived in the job 20 months ago on a mission to implement a revival and electrification plan he labelled “Reimagine”.

We grabbed a word with Bolloré just after he’d taken to the famous hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the new Range Rover Sport V8, driven by senior engineer Graham Moss.

You’ve just driven the famous Goodwood hill - did you enjoy it?

"Of course, but unfortunately I had to go as a passenger. I would have loved to drive myself but I couldn’t because I didn’t have the correct licence. Next year I will make sure I drive myself."

Do you believe events like Goodwood are important for marques like Jaguar and Land Rover?

"They’re extremely important. Our profile as a modern luxury company should extend far beyond the cars themselves. It has to encompass the whole ownership experience, and that means into places like this. In the future we will make sure it does."

Your Reimagine plan is very radical, and very rigorous. Is it on track?

"Yes, it is exactly on track. Maybe we are even a little ahead of the plan in some places. It is true that we have been rather quiet over the past months because we are concentrating so hard on work. We have a lot to do and we must concentrate on it because we have a long way to go. But even so, things are going well."

Has the Reimagine plan been modified since you devised it?

"Not so much. Only to simplify it in some areas so we can go faster. But we are on track. You will see."

Back to top

Jaguar and Land Rover models have been criticised in the past for quality, and you promised improvements. Have you delivered them?

"Yes we have. I wish I could show you our graphs back in the office. We have progressed everywhere, but especially with our newest models. The new Range Rover is now setting an extremely high standard – our highest – and we are doing very well with the new Defender, too."

How have you coped with the shortage in semiconductors?

"To be candid, we were not very good when the difficulties first emerged. We were unprepared and we were quite naive. We had up to 140 suppliers, and in some cases we didn’t even know where the semiconductors were in our cars. But we have worked extremely hard on the problem. Now have far fewer favoured suppliers — fewer than a double digit number — and we have worked with them to make huge improvements. It had been a very difficult problem, but it has brought us big benefits for the longer term."

How has your production been going?

"We have had a difficult time, like many companies. Did you know that last year we made only half of the cars we could have made? It’s no surprise that we have long waiting lists. As you know, our aim is to make 600,000 to 800,000 cars a year, and we have not managed anything like those numbers."

Back to top

We know you’re working flat out on the new electrified Jaguar line-up — but what about new Land Rover models?

"We will advance some of those, too, even ahead of schedule to cope with electrification. But I can’t give details yet."

Your Land Rover brands are extremely strong, buteven so you have work to do on the Land Rover Discovery family, is that correct?

"Yes it is. Our success with the new Defender has definitely had an effect on Discovery’s position. But we believe there is a great role for Discovery within Land Rover as a family of its own, and we are working hard on that."

What sort of niche can Discovery have?

"It has always been a very family-oriented model, answer want to enhance that. It needs to have many of the best characteristics of our luxury models, but with the emphasis on practicality and accessibility."

Given the relatively high prices of your cars, and the demand for new models like Defender, surely you must be the envy of the car world?

"Yes, I believe you are right. We certainly have many satisfied customers. Only yesterday I was talking to one of my neighbours who has a Range Rover Sport. He stopped me in the street and said 'Thank you, Thierry. Thank you for my car.' It was a great moment."

Back to top

Join the debate

Comments
21
Add a comment…
Marc 27 June 2022
Humber! That's one best left to history!

What are you driving?

A Humber Sceptre 78 kWh, long range.

Doesn't quite sound right does it. I think Jaguar is in enough trouble, its own incompetent management has seen to that. The last thing it needs is a basket case of a brand from a bygone era, it's arguably already one.

HUMBER MOTOR CO... 27 June 2022

It is difficult to comment on the plans announced to move Jaguar up-market. We do not have access to the marketing, statistical, and financial, information that led to this decision . . . and, the associated decision - at the very last minute - to discontinue production of the “electric-XJ”.

However, JLR still has substantial manufacturing capacity that needs to be utilised, to be efficient and profitable, and to maintain the necessary “critical mass” to survive as an independent manufacturer, able to compete in the premium vehicle market segment.

JLR had been informed that to maintain a much needed presence in the premium automotive market segment, there is available to JLR, the possibility of using a highly regarded, venerable, well-known name, long associated with the premium automotive sector. A highly respected name, that could comfortably sit alongside both Land-Rover, and the up-market Jaguar.

JLR, have been given the opportunity to maintain a presence in the premium automotive market segment, by adopting, using the HUMBER name.

Adopting and using the HUMBER name would not detract from the 4x4 reputation associated with Land-Rover. It would provide a means to compete in the premium vehicle market segment, now to be vacated by Jaguar.

By using the HUMBER name, to continue the production of a number of Jaguar “legacy” models, the proposal would keep the marketing of those Jaguar “legacy” models, at arms-length from, and therefore protect and not detract from, Land-Rover, and the proposals for an up-market Jaguar.

It is understood that the prototype “electric-XJ” vehicles that were photographed whilst out testing as they neared completion of their development, were new, bespoke, “approved” signed-off, bodies destined for production . . . and NOT “mules” adopted from other, existing, vehicles.

It is hoped that the expensive die, machine tools, used for pressing the body panels for the new “electric-XJ”, are still in storage - with all the others, that we recently saw on our screens, during the TV documentary about production of the “F-Type”.

It is hoped that all the computer programmes to control the manufacturing, and the robotic assembly, of the “electric-XJ”, have been “saved” . . . or at least can be re-written.

Whilst maintaining their attention on Land-Rover, it is presumed that much Sales & Marketing time and effort, is now dedicated to defining and positioning the new up-market Jaguar. However, I am confident that JLR should have the depth of expertise to simultaneously prepare and launch HUMBER as a “vehicle” with which to launch (in the UK market), the HUMBER “Sceptre” (nee “electric-XJ”), with support from the “legacy” models, both to be also marketed as HUMBER . . . the “I-Pace” and the “F-Pace”.

HUMBER MOTOR CO... 27 June 2022

Whilst maintaining their attention on Land-Rover, it is presumed that much Sales & Marketing time and effort, is now dedicated to defining and positioning the new up-market Jaguar. However, I am confident that JLR should have the depth of expertise to simultaneously prepare and launch HUMBER as a “vehicle” with which to launch (in the UK market), the HUMBER “Sceptre” (nee “electric-XJ”), with support from the “legacy” models, both to be also marketed as HUMBER . . . the “I-Pace” and the “F-Pace”.

CONCLUSION

With a lifetime’s employment and continuing interest in the Sales & Marketing function of the automotive manufacturing industry, I do despair at JLR’s continuing ability to seemingly - wilfully - neglect and ignore the opportunities that should be exploited with little or no, effort or expense, and which would be to the benefit and appreciation of many . . . customers and enthusiasts; importantly the dealer network (that depends upon a certain volume of sales to maintain their own viability); component and service suppliers; manufacturing and other employees; and of course Her Majesty’s Treasury.

Deputy 27 June 2022

Sounds like Steve had a lovely lunch at Goodwood paid for by JLR after they let him have another brand new Range Rover for 12 months.....  Any chance Steve we could have some challenging questions next time, like mentioned below, quality is NOT reliablity!