In what was a rather ironic but not expected move back in 2008, India’s largest auto manufacturing conglomerate, Tata Motors, purchased Jaguar Land Rover for the equivalent of $2,300,000,000. Considered the crown jewel of the Tata brand portfolio, Jaguar recorded a $3,900.000.000 write-down earlier this year, and has since been injected with $910,000,000 worth of capital in an effort to prop up the balance sheet. In a world where efforts to integrate electrification are negatively influencing global automaking profitability in a way that wasn’t previously imagined, things aren’t expected to get much better, and it’s now being reported that Tata motors has separately approached BMW and Geely in hopes of forming a partnership with one of those companies.
Jaguar has been an early and ambitious force in the EV market, launching the I-Pace crossover SUV in 2018. Still, investments preparing for a total revision of the fleet—with electrified drivetrains as the basis—are weighing heavily on both profitability and the minds of auto executives the world over, and Jaguar is struggling to remain relevant as the pace of development only accelerates.
We already know that Jaguar and BMW are collaborating on EV development, with BMW’s competitive advantage of using eDrive electric motors that do not require rare-earth metals (from China) acting as a serious motivational factor, while also reinforcing the sustainability of electric vehicles. It remains unclear what, if anything has come of this joint effort, but in the time since news broke of the two automakers teaming up for electric development, another rumor surfaced, which indicated that future Jaguar models could use BMW V8 engines—specifically the next generation of the slick F-Type, which has been able to reignite enthusiast interest in the brand since it arrived in 2014. BMW is also said to be developing a new V8, which is expected to be a four-liter unit—perfect for the F-Type.
Should BMW buy Jaguar? At least one analyst seems to think so, and who knows what’s on the minds of the few high-ranking former BMW executives who remain at Land Rover almost twenty years after the brand was sold to Ford?
According to Bloomberg, Geely says that it has not engaged in any discussions with Tata or JLR, while BMW declined to comment. It’s said that Tata has no intention of selling JLR outright, which is considered its most valuable brand, but if sales in China do not pick up for the premium British marque, it may not have much choice.
Regardless of what happens, it wasn’t so long ago that Range Rover models came with BMW V8 engines, and history may soon repeat itself with future Jaguar cars doing the same thing.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG, Jaguar Land Rover.]