The sales losses that have led to the layoffs and production cuts are originating primarily with the Jaguar brand as Land Rover sales remain steady despite the weak global market. Strong Russian and Chinese demand have filled the 31% drop in U.S. sales for the SUV marque, resulting in a world-wide sales tally just 3% off last year's numbers, reports The Sunday Telegraph. Jaguar's aging model line is slipping in sales around the world, however, despite the entry of the new XF sedan.
Tata is slowly moving the Jaguar brand back toward profitability, registering the first sales increase in two years, and is also reconsidering some existing partnerships. Replacing Ford as the engine supplier for Jaguar-Land Rover could be a step toward the goal of improved profitability. One candidate for the new engine supplier could be the Fiat Group. Rumors of Fiat's interest in the Jaguar and Land Rover brands have existed since Ford put them on the auction block, and once Tata acquired the companies, expectations of partnerships and technology sharing took their place.
Jaguar and Land Rover aren't going to take the weak economy or slumping demand standing still, however. Already numerous models are either in the works or on the drawing board, including an XF-R version of the XF sedan and an all-new generation of the legendary-but-aging XJ. And despite the economic necessities of a tough marketplace and rapidly declining demand, Jaguar still ranked number one in customer satisfaction in the U.S. according to the latest J.D. Power survey. Jaguar has even announced a plan for a return to profitability with a proliferation of all-new high-end models.