[concours] Re: Jaguar / Ford (kinda long)

Wayne makes some very valid points about the benefits of a Ford / Jag
relationship. I’d like to add a few. Where the sub assemblies come from is
not relevant to the feel of the car unless they denigrate the performance -
is Lucas a better supplier that Ford of switches (although Ford doesn’t
make its own switches etc - they job them out to a design spec.) It’s all
about design, and where the flavor and passion of the design comes from. I
disagree with Wayne in where the car is built. If the design - styling,
package, engineering … - is done well it makes no difference where the
car is screwed together. I defy anyone to tell the difference between an
Ohio or Tokyo built Accord. But, I prefer England for the touchy feely
reasons. The reason that the XK8 and S-type are Jaguars is because the
design teams understood and executed Jaguars. That’s because they were
steeped in Jaguar experience in their careers.

And the reason for this posting. My concern is that Ford is getting too
everyday into Jaguar development. I do not agree that Ford is a great maker
of cars. They are OK and probably the best of the US based companies,
however their ability to be ahead of the crowd is not that good. Explorer
is getting attacked. The Focus did not knock out the Civic. They gave up on
the Contour. Taurus vs Accord and Camry. The last stronghold - trucks-
sees Toyota making a better pickup as Ford lumbers on with the Expedition
while Toyota introduces the Sequoia. That’s why they bought Jaguar, Volvo
and Range Rover, and are always on the hunt for BMW, etc… They gave up
on making the right vehicles for the leaders of the market with their
brands- Lincoln, Mercury and Ford. Their ability to design and execute is
not great. Witness the 6 plus recalls of Explorer and Windstar. The launch
of the T-bird is unbelievable. Jaguar may have high JD Powers number, but
Ford does not.

So as the Ford managers drift in to handle Jaguar I worry as a Jaguar fan.
The Ford guys have for years wanted to get their hands on doing Jaguars.
Rumor has it that the first words out of Jack Telnack’s upon the purchase
was something like ‘I can’t wait to do the Jaguars’. Look at the Dearborn
proposals for the S-type to understand. And the recent decisions made are
downright strange - almost GM 1980’s brand marketing logic. Selling cereal
is the same as selling cars - just gotta know the product. Hiring a
Journalist with no Jaguar or car development experience to run the company?
Mixing design and marketing in with ‘the other luxury brands’ Aston and
Range Rover? Hiring new design teams from who knows where?

Use all of the Ford, Visteon, AP tech, whomever parts suppliers you want,
but watch letting Jaguar novices and / or Ford corporates plan, direct,
style, engineer Jaguars.

Eric Schumaker
61 E OTS
73 XJ12

Eric makes so many good points, my purpose is not to de bunk what he said, but
“agree to disagree”. Eric, you make numerous excellent points from a different
point of view. Thanks for the post.

I still stick behind my “Ford is a great company” statement–for the reason
Iaccoa mentioned. Ford successfully sells cars. Is Honda bigger than Ford?
VW? Will they ever be? Most likely not.

The one thing I clearly disagree with Eric however is the “letting Jaguar
novices and / or Ford corporates plan, direct, style, engineer Jaguars.” I was
with AT&T for 10+ years and MaBell had a really good (at one time) strictly
hands off policy regarding Bell Labs. These guys did what they want, and were
financed well. I think Ford looks across the pond the same way. As I said
before, Ford wants/requires Jaguar to make a profit, but I don’t think anybody
in Dearborn is going to think they can replicate “Jaguarness” through American
minds, CAD/CAM, and accounting. The Brits have got this nailed down, and Ford
knows it. They didn’t just by the brand name, but the heritage and spirit of
the people OF the company. I think the same thinking applies to Land Rover and
AM too. Ford makes a good SUV, but Rover is the world leader–period. AM
needs more $$$ to butt heads with Ferrari better, and they are getting there.

Eric, I share your nail biting worry as well, fellow Jaguar lover, but in the
end, I still feel this is a good marriage. Besides, better Ford than Toyota,
Chrysler, or worse yet–GM.

Sincerely,

Wayne Estrada
Richmond VA
USA
1989 XJ-S Convertible (Dorchester Grey)
1989 Vanden Plas Sedan (Alpine Green)
See My Cars at:
http://www.U3Training.com/jaguar

Various people wrote about Jaguar and Ford:
Does this thread have anything to do with the ostensible subject of this
list at all? I suggest it’s better suited for the Pub list.
-Steve A.
'67 E Type Coupe
'76 XJ6C
'91 XJ40