Interview Transcript

Just going back to the point on this choice to build aluminium architectures for the Jaguars, yet failing to achieve a price premium in the market. Why did they fail to achieve this price?

Well, because unfortunately aluminium construction has no perceived value by the customer. Plus, with the way they've gone about it, the fact that it's not even obvious that that's what it is. The best example of this was actually under Ford ownership, the first fully aluminium Jaguar was the XJ (X350), which was really the first full aluminium structure constructed in that way, certainly the first in Ford, and one of the only ones in the world. And yet, it was launched with a body style - this goes back to my issues about design under Ford ownership - that looked pretty well exactly the same as the previous one.

So you had a state-of-the-art vehicle, all aluminium structure, powertrains, everything absolutely state-of-the-art and it looked just like the previous one. So why would the customer perceive any value in that? “It looks just the same as the other one, why would I pay any more for it?”

I would suggest that the majority of people who are not directly involved don’t know it’s an aluminium structure. If you asked, “Is a Jaguar XE built in the same material as a BMW 3-Series?” They’d say “Yeah, of course it is, why would it be any different?”

The trouble is also, it's fine going for very lightweight body structures and they are pretty efficient, the actual body weight of Jaguars and Land Rovers are very low, but a lot of the other materials, the suspension systems, the engine, and everything else are actually pretty heavy. So the net result is the vehicle is not really sufficiently lighter, substantially lighter, if at all, than its competitors because they put their weight reduction in other areas of the vehicle. Partly, I have to say, because BMW and Mercedes had massive investment in steel body construction, with multiple plants, and therefore the cost of them changing that would be enormous. So they have resisted doing it, they've gone for hybrid structures where certain parts of the vehicle are steel, certain parts are aluminium, or other lightweight materials. Simply, the investment wasn't affordable for competitors.

The trouble is that Jaguar Land Rover haven't really got the full benefit. The only vehicle to get the benefit are full size Range Rovers and the F-Pace, which again is aluminium. And if you look at the F-Pace SUV, for the size and price, it is quite a bit lighter than its competitors.

Why do those two models get the benefits?

The weight of the other parts of them is competitive with competitors, if you see what I'm saying. So you actually see a net gain from the lighter structure. On the smaller vehicles, the design approach wasn't taken to get the lightest weight in the other areas of the vehicle, and therefore a 3-Series is no heavier than an XE.

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