Interview: Nick Collins on the future of Jaguar

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In a landmark interview, we find out exactly where Jaguar stands now and what it will look like in three years

With Jaguar finally breaking its lengthy silence over its future plans, there’s a lot to unpack.

Three brand new models are on the way, all of which are set to be built on a new platform and feature EV power.

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However, there’s still a lot we don’t know. So who better to enlighten us on the firm’s future than Nick Collins, Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicles boss?

Just how big is the task of re-establishing Jaguar?

“It’s huge, but we’re absolutely where we want to be. I’m conscious we’ve been quiet on Jaguar, but that has been deliberate. We had [Land Rover’s] Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and [Land Rover] Defender 130 to launch, and we needed to get that done. But we’ve been working like crazy on the new Jaguars with a fiercely dedicated team locked away from distractions.”

You’ve mentioned 2024. What’s the significance of that? Previously, a 2025 relaunch was spoken of.

“Both years are significant. In 2024, we will show the world what a new Jaguar will be like; in 2025, we will deliver cars to customers. We’re still working on options for communicating and marketing the vehicles. We have plenty of ideas, but we haven’t yet decided which way to go.”

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You’ve talked about “curating the journey” to 2025. What does that mean?

“That refers to what we will do with existing models. Our supply chain issues have created opportunities to cut the number of variants. We’ve learned a lot about being a value-over-volume company. With the [Jaguar] F-Pace, for instance, we can go from around 55 variants to 16. You’ve seen our recent [Jaguar] F-Pace SVR Edition 1988: we will do more like that, including with the [Jaguar] XF and [Jaguar] XE, which will be back soon. And next year we will celebrate 75 years of Jaguar sports cars by doing something special with the [Jaguar] F-Type. It will be our last-ever V8 sports car. Maybe it will be like the old [Land Rover] Defender and have a bumper year.”

Does “a copy of nothing” imply that new Jaguars won’t have a visual relationship with previous models?

“I can’t talk specifics, but the way to understand the link between new and old is to think about the brand’s specifics. Summarise the emotions that Jaguars have always generated, then think how to represent them in a modern product. For me, it’s similar to the job we did with the new Defender: we were never hindered by the old one when we did it. We’ve recently honed Jaguar values to a few words. I won’t reveal them, but they let us maintain the absolute purity of the brand.”

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Is it true that the new Jaguar designs have been signed off?

“Yes, we’ve signed off the whole portfolio. We’re in the final maturation phase, getting the cars ready for production by dealing with production surfacing and practical stuff like aerodynamics and cooling. But we cling very closely to the company’s core principle of making very few changes for production. We see our task as being to bring great designs to life.”

What stage have you reached with the mechanical and software development?

“We first looked at using a partner platform, but it became clear we would never achieve our ‘copy of nothing’ objective without bespoke architecture. However, we’re using some of the building blocks we already have – and have planned for other future models – to streamline the process. As for prototypes, they will be running in the next couple of months, using Range Rover Sport bodies.”

Will you show a concept car before 2024?

“I love concepts, and this is certainly an idea we’ve talked a lot about, and maybe we will do something. But in line with everything else about this new Jaguar project, we will have to ‘Reimagine’ how we do it.”

No recent car has had new architecture for both body and chassis, a new form of powertrain, a new production system and a new marketing proposition and been built for a new breed of buyers. Do you acknowledge the risk in this?

“We believe risk can also contain opportunities. In any case, the bigger risk would have been to keep things as they were. We had to do something very different, just as we did with the Defender, and that’s what we’re doing. But I can tell you the new cars are absolutely stunning and very thought-provoking propositions, in a good way. Every time I see one in the design studio, I catch my breath. But that’s an effect that the greatest Jaguars have always had.”

Steve Cropley

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