JLR is looking for a partner for a new electric platform for future battery-powered Jaguars.
The reason for cutting the MLA-mid program was partly because it would not have helped JLR make deep enough emissions cuts, Mardell said. “Reimagine is about being one step ahead on compliance. The current MLA program would not have done that for us,” he said. “We would have been in catch-up in this compliance and that just isn’t good enough in this industry today.”
JLR said on Jan. 29 that it now expects a fine of 35 million pounds for missing its 2020 European Union CO2 reduction target.
On the investor call, Mardell said that JLR had decided that cars on the platform, including the XJ, would not meet the company’s ambition to lead on technology and design as it seeks to return to sustainable profitability.
“[The XJ] will not be ahead of the tech curve. It wouldn’t have that modern luxury, that future Jaguar vision, that drop-dead aspiration that we need to make this brand work,” Mardell said in an impassioned pitch to investors. “That’s why the brand worked 30 years ago, 40 years ago. We have got to capture that for this to be actually cash generative and EBIT positive. So we had to make a tough decision.”
JLR is keeping MLA for large Land Rover SUVs. “MLA has not gone altogether – we have amazing products on MLA — the Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport,” Mardell said. Both models, which Mardell described as “two of our biggest hitters” will be refreshed within 12-18 months, he said.
Jaguar Land Rover will move its products upmarket as part of the Reimagine strategy. “Our models returning the lowest profitability will make room for those that make the best return,” CEO Thierry Bollore said.
Mardell said the company had abandoned the target of 1 million annual sales to focus on selling profitably at around 400,000-450,000 cars a year.
The company’s global vehicle sales fell 24 percent to 425,974 last year, it said on Jan. 11. Of those sales, 323,480 were Land Rovers, down 18 percent, and 102,494 were Jaguar models, down 37 percent.