After nearly a quarter century under American and then Indian ownership, the Jaguar brand is making a concerted effort to reassert its fundamental Britishness. Jaguar is going from dealer to dealer in the United States discussing new corporate-identity standards meant to wear the English origins and sensibilities—and production—of the cars on their hoods, as it were.
At least in part, the branding moves are meant to contrast Jaguar from its German rivals as Jaguar scraps anew for share in the crowded part of the luxury market around $70,000, with itsnew F-Type sports car.
The new standards—including a canopy for the service drive, a "heritage wall" and a performance center for the latest models—will "bring out the Britishness and aspects of our heritage," Andy Goss, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America, toldAutomotive News Europe. "We want to convey the message that we are not a Teutonic brand. We will appeal more to the senses. The biggest difference is a lot more color." Cranberry will accent the traditional British racing green in the new standards.
Jaguar, of course, was purchased by Ford in 1990, and for a time Ford packaged the Jaguar and Land Rover brands together in its Premier Automotive Group of luxury brands that also included Lincoln and Volvo. Part of the idea by Ford was to lend a sort of overriding cachet of competence when the brand was still having production-quality problems, as it has historically.
But the Premier Automotive Group structure fell apart and, as the global recession was closing in, Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to India's Tata Group in 2008. Tata has been investing resources and elevating Jaguar manufacturing quality, product appeal and marketing since then. The F-Type, which just launched with a new campaign, is the first of a wave of new products expected by Jaguar over the next few years.
It appears as if savvy US dealers want to get in on the ground floor. "Our expectation is that [dealers] will move to the new standard as quickly as we can get there," Goss told the magazine. Jaguar has 165 US dealerships—68 standalones and 97 that are dualed with Land Rover. Dealers expect American luxury consumers will be more than ready for the new kind of British invasion.