Opel can take all-wheel drive from the Jaguar E-Pace. And what else will he have?
After it became known about the upcoming merger of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi with Fiat-Chrysler, the general director of PSA, Carlos Tavares, had the only opportunity to get the all-wheel drive system of the traditional, “non-hybrid” design. Given the fact that he does not plan to invest in his own all-wheel drive transmission, there is only one option …
Let’s start from afar. In the spring of 2008, after long attempts to sell Jaguar, Ford finally found a buyer for the “cat” brand – the Indian concern Tata, but he set a condition: Land Rover should go to the bargain. Since then, the British have money, they began to work on their own platforms and four years later released the fourth generation Range Rover, designed on the advanced aluminum “trolley”.
Then a systematic update of the model range went, original engines of the Ingenium line appeared, and indeed Jaguar and Land Rover bade farewell to the image of marginal, constantly breaking cars, increased the luxurious shine, and sometimes even try to compete with German premium brands – in particular Audi. In general, the investments made tremendous, including for an unknown prospect with autonomous driving, but the sales spurt did not happen.
In particular, the calculation on the Chinese market did not come true, which British automobile analysts stated with regret in 2015. Actually, it was from that moment that the Tata managers began to tighten the nuts: to cut expenses and demand an increase in sales volumes. In particular, back in 2015, the goal was set to achieve annual sales of 1 million cars by 2020. And even then the most optimistic experts said: there will be 800 thousand maximum. And how much in reality?
Jaguar Land Rover does not live for calendar years, but for financial years, and therefore reports at the beginning of the second quarter of the calendar year. And on April 8, another annual release came out: 578,915 cars were sold, of which 398,717 fell on Land Rover, 180 198 fell to Jaguar. The Cat grew by 3.2% – the potential for expanding the lineup was not exhausted by the last positions, and Land Rover fell to a palpable 9.3%. In general, the duet with Foggy Albion sank by 5.8%. It is clear that about any sold million in 2020 we are not talking.
One of the expense items that spoil the British financial statistics – this high-tech development, concentrated mainly in two areas: autonomous driving and electric drive. Both of these industries have vague prospects, to put it mildly, and in the first case the distribution is limited by ethical considerations expressed by the “sacrifice” dilemma. A drone rushes along a highway and sees an unexpected obstacle – a man. It can be saved and driven around, but the conditions are such that the maneuver will result in a loss of stability and control, and therefore, those who are in the cabin will suffer. So, the answer to the question “by whom to sacrifice” – standing on the road or sitting in the cabin, humanity will never have.
With regard to electricity, the “soft” hybrids do not provide tangible benefits in terms of fuel economy, plug-in hybrids and electric cars are still unreasonably expensive, and the latter are still not sufficiently autonomous. All these modifications are being released, let’s be honest, mainly under political pressure and from “visionary” ambitions to take a warm place in the still emerging electric segment.
There are also developments that can hardly be called otherwise than funny ones. For example, the steering wheel, the side segments of which are heated during an unforced departure from the lane.
Already, six researchers – three from the University of Glasgow, two of whom are programmers and one – a psychologist, and three engineers of Jaguar Land Rover tested several behavioral hypotheses: what does the driver respond better to, who drives a car out of the lane – to a sound signal or to a steering segment wheels, at what irritant – sound or heat – the time of changing the lane will be longer, in which direction the driver will turn the steering wheel – into “heated” or “cold”. In general, not to say that the objectives of this study seem to us somewhat lightweight or insignificant, but it is obvious that you need to spend money on them if they have nowhere else to spend.
There is practically no free money left. Back in early January, Jaguar Land Rover announced a program to reduce 4.5 thousand jobs, which is about a tenth of employees, while part of employees with temporary contracts were abandoned as early as 2018. In addition, the latest JLR financial report, which was commented on in Goldman Sachs and Automotive News, speaks of a drop in profits and a rise in debt obligations.