Times are tough for Jaguar and Land Rover. The conglomerate's global sales were down 24 percent in 2020, with Jaguar's 37-percent decline being the biggest gut-punch of them all. We already reported about the new XJ saloon getting the axe, not to mention an overall Jaguar Land Rover production cut of 25 percent. Now, we're getting a better idea of the changes and frankly, it's a bit worrying.
During a recent investor call, JLR Chief Financial Officer Adrian Mardell said development of Jaguar vehicles for the EV-friendly MLA platform was over, according to Automotive News. The modular design was aimed at carrying everything from fully electric powertrains to internal-combustion power. It was the basis for the now-cancelled XJ replacement, not to mention the long-awaited J-Pace SUV. There's been no official word on the J-Pace, but if development for MLA-based vehicles is kaput, it likely means the J-Pace is cancelled before it even began.
Gallery: 2021 Jaguar XJ spied with production body
Another casualty of the changes at JLR is the planned EV SUV from Land Rover, the so-called Road Rover. Curiously, while the MLA platform is dead at Jaguar it will live on with large Land Rover offerings, though it won't go the electric route. That's apparently being saved for a new Electrical Modular Architecture that will serve pure EV systems first and foremost. The platform will also carry hybrid powertrains, but it won't be designed for internal-combustion power alone.
To make this happen, JLR will reportedly write-off upwards of $1.4 billion in investments already made into the MLA platform and associated vehicles. Apparently, the automaker deemed it all too dated and not able to meet its company emissions needs. Perhaps most worrying for Jaguar, JLR is looking for partners to develop an electric platform for future Jaguars. That suggests they don't already have something cooking to replace the MLA plan, or if they do, they lack the funds to make it happen. Either way, it doesn't bode well for a brand pledging to be all-electric by 2025.
With Jaguar allegedly planning to go upscale as a direct competitor to Bentley and Aston Martin, the overall plan seems to be a significant reduction in both models offered and total production. About the only thing we can say for certain is that JLR's future – especially with regards to Jaguar – looks quite shaky at best.