Why Gerry McGovern is the right man to steer Jaguar reinvention

JLR’s new CEO, Thierry Bollore, who last week detailed much of the company’s strategy, said Jaguar is moving away from SUV-like vehicles to create a separate identity from Land Rover. While we don’t yet know the body styles of the new Jaguars, we do know they are going to be far more opulent and expensive than current Jaguars. The new Jaguar lineup will be moving upmarket to compete with some models from Bentley and Aston Martin, two sources told Automotive News.

McGovern has proved his team can design a vehicle every bit as stylish and luxurious as a Bentley or even a Rolls-Royce. But the world never got the chance to buy it. The Range Rover SV Coupe, which had an announced base price of $295,000 was — to my eyes — much better looking than both the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan. It was axed during JLR’s 2019 financial crisis, but it would have shown well against Rolls-Royce.

The pressure on McGovern’s team to create something equally as exquisite for Jaguar is immense. The brand likely won’t survive if the next generation of vehicles struggles. I don’t know if there’s a better man in the entire automotive industry than McGovern to lead the project.

For much of his career, McGovern has been handed one famous vehicle after another to redesign, or he’s been given the task of creating vehicles for new segments. And he’s aced the test every time.

In the early ’90s when McGovern was working for the Rover Group, he penned the midengine MG F, the successor to the classic MGB. The car went on to knock off the Mazda Miata and become one of Europe’s top-selling sports cars for nearly a decade.