En 2008, la firme de voitures de luxe britannique Jaguar, fondée en 1922, a entamé une nouvelle ère. Après son premier rachat en 1990 par Ford, elle a redoré son blason et redonné sens à son slogan “born to perform”. Le félin chromé a su trouver un second souffle grâce aux investissements étrangers. Ainsi, les Britanniques peuvent à nouveau se targuer de leur fleuron historique : les automobiles les plus “British” qui soient ! Comment cette résurrection s’est-elle produite ?
In 2008 a new era began in the history of Jaguar: Indian car giant TATA Motors bought the brand from Ford and a new partnership was formed, known as JLR (Jaguar and Land Rover). During the 2008 financial crisis, it was seen as JLR’s last chance to overcome its sales problems. The reorganization was actually a means to redefine the company’s targets and business plan. And it decided to invest significantly more in product development:
Since 2013 the partnership has proved very useful. Indeed, in 2013 JLR sold more than 425,000 vehicles, 19% more than in 2012. It allowed JLR to smash sales records in 38 countries! Contrary to what one could believe, this is not only due to emerging markets like Asia. For instance, in the United Kingdom, Jaguar sales were up 38 per cent and Land Rover sales were up 12 per cent, a success hailed by Prime Minister David Cameron, who wrote on Twitter: “Great news for Britain and for jobs as Jaguar Land Rover announce they sold 425,000 vehicles last year – 19% more than in 2012”. The symbol is strong for a country whose economy is still at half-mast.
As unit assistant general secretary Tony Burke wrote, “the company faced serious problems prior to 2008 but our members in Unite and the company worked together to turn JLR’s fortunes around. JLR continues to take on staff, including 600 new staff at their new engine plant in the West Midlands. The company also remains committed to taking on apprentices as well. The manufacturer’s fantastic performance is testament to the workforce.”
JLR’s chief executive insists, “2013 has proven to be a very positive year for Jaguar Land Rover thanks to continuing strong demand for vehicles across the range. Our unrelenting focus on design, technology, innovation and quality has seen Jaguar Land Rover reach global consumers in more markets than ever before thanks to its most desirable product line-up, enriched further in 2013 by the Jaguar F-TYPE and all-new Range Rover Sport.”
However, TATA motors‘ investment is essential to ensure this great recovery because the majority of models will be powered by a new four-cylinder engine range thanks to a joint-venture with China. This resurrection shows that foreign investments are not necessarily something Britons need to be afraid of. Not just a dispossession of Britain’s industry, foreign investments have been a source of industrial revival. It could teach those who criticize the purchase of 14% of French PSA Peugeot-Citroën by China a lesson. Indeed, even if takeovers should remain limited, they can prove effective and necessary to enable traditional firms to become more competitive in our globalized world. The world of tomorrow has already begun.
Oussama BEN DHIAB & Clément MYROPE