Aluminum bodies for all future Jaguars and Land Rovers

August 6th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar aluminium body s

Jaguar has become known for its extensive use of aluminum in the construction of its vehicles, and the weight and dynamics advantages that are achieved when compared to traditional steel-bodied cars. Now, it has been revealed by Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata that all future Jaguar and Land Rover models will make even greater use of aluminum in their bodies – a move that will help Jaguar and Land Rover models reduce weight and improve mileage and efficiency figures into the future.

Tata Motors, owner of Jaguar and Land Rover, revealed the information through Ratan Tata’s comments in his company’s annual report. The news comes after massive losses were recorded for Jaguar and Land Rover during 2008, with numbers around the negative £673.4 million mark.

These losses were in part blamed on high development costs for new models, as well as the declining luxury car market, but vehicle production costs were also a factor. Using aluminum in the construction of cars is no doubt more expensive than using steel, but Jaguar and Land Rover are gambling on the efficiency gains that the material affords to attract environmentally-conscious buyers n the future.

Jaguar/Land Rover posts crushing $1.6B loss

July 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar XJ sedan fq1

The sharp downturn of the world’s luxury automotive markets has taken a major toll on Jaguar/Land Rover, with the company’s bottom line taking a huge hit. According to a Financial Times report the once British luxury marques lost 673.4 million pounds ($1.6 billion NZ) in 2008. That’s a massive swing from the 641.5 million pound profit the British brands earned in 2007. Tata Motors stated last month that Jaguar/Land Rover lost 306 million pounds for the financial year ending March 2009.

The Financial Times report comes as Tata Motors is working on a deal with the British government to provide short-term financing for the iconic brands. The report goes on to say that the U.K. government is willing to provide a 175 million pound commercial bridging loan to keep operations running. There is a potential stalemate with Tata Motors wanting a 12-month loan, while the British government would prefer a six-month term, along with representation on the board.

Jaguar/Land Rover costs Tata Motors billions

June 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Land Rover Discovery4 fq

India’s Tata Motors has recently reported a net loss of $520 million USD (25.05 billion rupees) for the fiscal year ending in March of 2009. Over the same period one year earlier, Tata managed to earn 21.68 billion rupees in profit. Why the big change? Naturally, the global economic crisis has struck the automaker, but the main problem is the relatively poor performance of Jaguar and Land Rover, purchased from Ford last year with the help of a $3 billion USD bridge loan.

The fact that Jaguar Land Rover was responsible for $504 million of that $520 million total loss means that more job cuts and plant shutdowns are in store for the struggling British pair. Tata’s Vice Chairman Ravi Kant said, “We have sent people on sabbatical, gone for cheaper low-cost country sourcing and tight control in cash flows, and are assisting JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) for a major belt tightening.”

Earlier this month, reports suggested that Tata was in search of some $1.5 billion USD in cash and underwriting to pump straight into its JLR operations.

Hybrid Land Rover LRX set for production

June 25th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Landrover LRX fq

Automakers that want to be successful over the next few years need to be increasingly aware of their fuel consumption, emissions and environmental cred. Apparently in reflection of this new ethos Land Rover is pushing forward with plans to launch its new LRX compact hybrid ‘ute, possibly with a bit of help from the U.K. government.

According to recent reports, Land Rover will use technology from corporate partner Jaguar’s hardware stable, which will soon include both hybrid and extended-range EV options. Land Rover’s innovative electric drive rear axle is supposedly on the LRX menu, which would muck in with the automaker’s well-known and highly-effective Terrain Response System to put power to the ground.

If these unconfirmed reports ring true, we shouldn’t expect Land Rover to have the hybrid LRX in production for at least two years. In the meantime, the British-built, Indian-owned automaker is set to debut stop/start and regenerative braking on all of its models to step up their environmental status.

Land Rover adds luxury to Defender with Fire & Ice editions

June 10th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Land Rover defender fire ed both

Few vehicles are more Spartan than the Land Rover Defender. While most of the world’s tough-guy off-roaders — Toyota Land Cruiser, Mercedes G-Wagen, Hummer H2 — have become luxury machines, the Defender battles on as the final bastion of bare-bones four wheel driving. Still using a similar body-on-frame design from 1948, the Defender remains hand-assembled. Now it seems Land Rover are finally listening to calls for a luxury version of the Defender.

Two new limited-production editions of the Defender are now available. Named the Fire & Ice editions they come packed with all the features Land Rover could fit in: Recaro buckets, leather and Alcantara trim, diamond-turned alloys, colour-coded head- and tail- lights, glass sunroof panel, running boards and more. The Fire edition comes in a special Vesuvius Orange metallic paint, the Ice edition in Alaska white, both complimented by black accents. All that kit drives the price of the special Land Rover up to €68,400. Just 850 examples of the exclusive Defenders will be made.

2010 Range Rover Sport released

April 9th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Range Rover Sport fq

Land Rover have been busy creating it’s new LR4, upgrading the classic Range Rover, and now the Range Rover Sport is also getting plenty of upgrades for the 2010 model year. Like the regular Range Rover, the Sport gets the same 5.0L direct-injection V8 from Jaguar in either naturally aspirated or supercharged form and a new six-speed automatic transmission. The NA version puts out 375 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque while the supercharger variant creates 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque and is good for 5.9-second sprints to 100 kph. The Sport’s exterior has also been tweaked with a new two-bar grille featuring in the updated front end and new rear tail-lamps sitting above a redesigned rear bumper. The interior has also been redone with higher quality materials and a new steering wheel that includes paddle shifters on the supercharged model.

All up the new Range Rover Sport is shaping up to be an even more capable sports SUV than the one it replaces.

UK offers Land Rover £27 million to build LRX

March 13th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Land Rover LRX fq

When Land Rover released the LRX concept at the Detroit Auto Show in 2008, it said the CUV was “Conceived as a 2.0-litre, turbodiesel hybrid, with potential CO2 emissions of 120 g/km.” That appealed to the UK government, which has confirmed it has extended a grant offer of up to £27 million to Land Rover to produce an all-new vehcile based on the LRX.

Land Rover says it will make a decision on the project, which could cost up to £400 million, later this year. If the car is a go, it would be the smallest, lightest and most efficient Land Rover ever. It’s all not as crazy as it sounds, considering Land Rover’s lineup, but is it the right direction to go?

Land Rover called the LRX the company’s second concept vehicle in 60 years, and it was a hit, winning the “Concept Truck of the Year” award in the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards and generating plenty of praise. Is it enough to spend £400m (minus £27m)? Looks like we will find out shortly.

Jagaur to lay off 450 workers

January 15th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Just as things were beginning to look up for Jagaur and partner Land Rover, it has been forced to announce that 450 workers will be dropped from its global ranks. Hardest hit will be management, which will see its numbers drop by about 300 employees, with the remaining 150 coming from Jaguar’s hourly-rate staff. Sales have been down in 2008 due to the poor global economy and the general lack of available credit, and 2009 isn’t expected to go any better. Fewer cars sold means fewer workers are necessary to build them and a smaller cash reserve is available to pay from.

Jaguar, which is now owned by Tata Motors of India, still has four manufacturing sites in England and is hoping that the government in the U.K. will offer some form of assistance to the remaining automotive sector, but none has come so far.