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Hyundai wants Jaguar. Good idea?



  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Thank you for your input.

    Ford had a real challenge when it came to the XJ redesign. They took a pretty conservative route this time. I personally am not sure it was the right thing to do. But with such an iconic design, I am not certain what Ford could have done otherwise.

    Very difficult choices.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    of the best potential owners of Jaguar as I see it today. This list is subject to change on further information or on a whim.

    1) JCB
    2) Hyundai
    3) Ford

    I put JCB first because of their British heritage, excellent reputation for service and financial strength. I put Ford last because it will take lots of money to get Jaguar back on track.
  • cdokecdoke Posts: 14
    I really understand JCB. Because it is not a car company there would have to be now real image damage control for Jaguar. Ford has already done theirs...not so well perhaps. But Hyundai? That makes me cringe.

    You know, you go to car dealerships and look around and any Hyundai you see looks cheap. You look at the price tag and some of them go up to almost 30 grand. It's a Hyundai. I wouldn't pay half that for it. That is saying something given that I have spent more than 15 grand in tbe past year and a half just maintaining my Jag. You know Hyundai's image is horrible in my eyes- and is so beneath Jag it simply isn't funny to me.

    You know you have to understand the motivation of Hyundai. So, you think back to my International Political Economy Days in college. Incidentally, just to add some sort of levity to this, My moderators for IPE were not lightweights in this field. Eul is considered an expert ( and he is Korean) and Phillipe is the former CEO of TOTAL (that being the oil corporation).

    The South Koreans in a general sense want to outdo Japan. If you ask the executives at Hyundai what their motive is, and they will tell you that they want to outdo Toyota, and so it would make sense for them to attempt to acquire a brand to compete with Lexus. Lexus really is the least expensive, least exciting (IMO) luxury brand. Of course, there is a practical reason Lexus is cheaper on the whole. The brand needed to be significantly separated from Toyota, so there are very few options on a Lexus- everything is already on it. Unlike German brands, where everything is an option- its a German thing- they don't even like sunroofs. So Lexus can be manufactured at far less of a cost, because it is repetitive. The German brands are rather inefficient in their manufacture- something that German sensibilities won't like but it is true. When you purchase a car, you purchase the culture that manufactured it. In addition to this, in order for Lexus to compete, it really needed to infiltrate the European Market: in particular the German brands. In fact, if you look at the brochures of the Lexus IS, Every picture is taken in Germany. ...That was a bit off subject...

    Anyway, Lexus to me, is an engrandized Toyota, and so I wouldn't believe it to be the natural competitor of Jag, which is what Hyundai would attempt to do make Jag. Hyundai needs to compete with Lexus, Lexus is designed to compete with German Brands. In fact, Lexus steals design cues from German cars. The New LS viewed from the side looks like a 7 series BMW with the rear lights of the 5 series. But German and English Cars are nothing alike really. You can sit in any English Car A Jaguar XJ, Bentley Arnage, Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph, and then sit in any German car and you can really see a massive difference. English cars are very sui generis- you can ususally tell that a car is English by its syling, and implicitly Jag is not the natural competitor of Lexus either.

    Like I would end my involvement with Jag, were Hyundai to purchase it.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    I agree with much of what you say. You will notice that I put Hyundai below JCB in my ranking of who should buy Jaguar.

    I would be sorry to see Jaguar turned into a badge engineered Hyundai. For some reason Lexus buyers do not mind their cars sharing platforms and a large percentage of components with Toyota models. This wouldn't work for Jaguar or other Euro brands.

    I wonder if JCB will make Ford a firm offer. At what price would Ford sell Jaguar?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Really thought stimulating posts, very deep and passionate.

    I must say though that I think you left out one component of possible Korean ownership of Jaguar. The Korean companies just like the Japanese are social climbers, they want status and they want it badly. Funny that you mentioned Lexus and their practices, a lot of it geared towards gaining equal ground on prestige/status front with the Germans. The Koreans are even worse than the Japanese on the issues of copying and what not right now.

    I think Hyundai would love to have a brand of theirs mentioned in the same breath with the German brands and therefore they wouldn't dramatically cheapen Jaguar, IMO of course. I think they'd try their best to keep Jaguar as is and give them a proper development it first. Now if Jaguar couldn't turn themselves around on their own in say like 5 years then what you speak of would likely happen because I too think (well I know) Hyundai would be clueless on how to build a Jaguar on their own. The only way for Korean ownership of Jaguar to work is hands-off ownership, which I think Hyundai would give, first. If it didn't work, I think we'd be looking at another GM-Saab like episode. I'd rather see Jaguar become a glorious luxury car maker under some private owner who can barely balance the books, but remain open while providing some truly stunning cars than to become a "poodle in a Hyundai/Kia circus" (a paraphrase of Shiftright's take on Saab under GM) by rebadging or sharing platforms with anything Korean. Either that or just let the brand die. I've had to sit and watch Saab become GM Europe and it is disgusting for the most part. I don't think I could stand to see that happen to Jaguar.

  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    Hi, Merc1.

    How do you think the JCB purchase of Jaguar would work out if indeed it happens?
  • cdokecdoke Posts: 14
    After thinking about it, I really don't think Hyundai will cheapen Jaguar- Ford already did it. Ford has already turned Jag into a mimmic for German brands. I guess through for me keeping it that way is just as big of a sin as making it what way. What I am really afraid of is Hyundai bastardizing the brand- making it look like a German car in order to compete with them and Lexus. I really didn't articulate that well in my last message.
  • This reminds me of a (supposedly) true story about the automobile business.

    A group of bigwigs in Detroit were invited to Henry Kaiser's announcement that he was going to build a car for postwar (WWII) America. He invited other car company execs and also the press. He announced that the new Kaiser Frazier factory was being capitalized at $40 million dollars to start with (in 1940s money).

    A voice rang out from the back of the room: "Give that man ONE CHIP!"

    It takes a LOT of money to play in the auto biz successfully; otherwise, you are like the stock trader with a capitalization of $100. Even if you score big you can't score big.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Not sure, I have to read up on JCB because I know nothing about them.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What I am really afraid of is Hyundai bastardizing the brand- making it look like a German car in order to compete with them and Lexus. I really didn't articulate that well in my last message.

    I think I got that from your last post, I don't think they would though. They would have to see that competing with the Germans and Lexus didn't work under Ford either. They'd be throwing good money after bad on that one. Jaguar has to move upmarket and go exclusive and that means no X-Type and possibly no S-Type either. Both of those classes move very fast and Japan and Germany both of them firmly.

  • cdokecdoke Posts: 14
    You know, I don't know if they will do it. I am afraid that instead of just thinking that Ford's model didnt work, that they will think Jaguar's styling is not a spot on competitior for the Germans, and they will shift it. That is the step Ford never took.

    The other thing I didn't mention, as I actually forgot as I went through my post, is that some of the decisions may not be in the hands of the company. Asian coutries tend to have a fairly large involvment with "Pride Industries" if you will. The Japanese and South Korean governments are heavily involved with Toyota and Hyundai respectively. These companies basically receive their marching orders from the government. On a political level the environment snaps back to that Japan / Korea rivalry thing.

    All of this is a sort of cursory speculative analysis on my part, but it really does represent something I don't desire to happen.
  • Bottom line is: It is damn hard to pull a dying make of car out of the's rarely been done successfully. Look at how much $$$ GM has put into Cadillac, (incredible sums, reallly) and that marque wasn't dead, more like "moribund". Who would spend that kind of cash on Jaguar?
  • cdokecdoke Posts: 14
    I really don't consider Jaguar to be "dying", sales volume now must be greater than before Ford bought them. I know sales volumes are down lately but in a structural sense yearly sales is a superfluous measure. The problem lays in Ford attempting to turn Jaguar into something which it really has no capacity to be- it really cannot be a German car. Had no structural changes been made to the brand, then perhaps I would agree. Ford needs to live with the fact that Jaguar really cannot be a mass market brand. Ford has put lots of money into Jag, but to the wrong end- so they habitually lose money.

    Ford has failed to realize that the demographic of people who drive them is not like German cars either. My experience with Jag drivers is that A) they have dynastic wealth b) they are rather sophisticated, not just educated, but the type of people who can tell you that the highest note in "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" otherwise known as the Aria of the Queen of the Night from the Magic Flute is an F6 (that being the F in the sixth octave)
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,392
    I'm not sure about that "dynastic wealth" business. In the USA most "old money" people drive understated vehicles like Volvos or even
    domestics. After all Ted Kennedy drove an Olds off that bridge. ;)
  • I agree. You can buy a new Jaguar on a credit card anyway....aside from a Ferrari or Bentley or maybe a fully decked out S class Benz, a dental hygienist can finance just about any car.

    It's all very ironic for Jaguar because originally the car was conceived as a value automobile for the middle class in England. It was, if anything, a protest against ostentation and the absurd MSRP of cars like Rolls and Bentley.

    I'm sorry the company lost its way. Former Lemans winners and makers of REAL sports cars, now the company flounders about not knowing what it is and what it is supposed to be doing. I owned many Jaguars when I was younger and I can still remember my disgust when the XJ6 came out and the E-Type went away. I realize the XJ6 did save the company but as far as I'm concerned it turned out to be a bargain with the devil for the company.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,910
    Don't people need dynastic wealth to keep old Jags going? The maintenance and repairs on a XJS V12 has to exceed a Ferrari.

    But yeah, Jag is bourgeois even at its highest levels, not a car for the uber-rich.
  • Maybe Jaguar should just go back to its old formula....produce only 3 a Panoz-like sports car (serious sports car), one a BMW-like 3 series sedan, and then the limited production obligatory big blivet-car to boost their prestige. This line-up served them well from the 40s through 1974 or so.
  • cdokecdoke Posts: 14
    I agree with the understated comment, with the caveat that a lot of the people whom I know Don't drive their Jags all of the time. (incedientally my first car was a Volvo- couldn't kill that car for all my life) But Jags are understated. There are lots of old women whom drive their Jags to Denver Country Club on the weekend- some of them have last names which should be vaguely familiar. And sometimes these people have their Rolls-Royces- which are never driven. For them Jags are an understatment. My grandparent's Jag is driven (not regularly) but in leiu of a much nicer car which they own.

    As far as the Kennedy's, we must have very different standards of "dynastic wealth"- people whom keep their names out fo the papers (the ultimate understatement) and have had money for a lot longer- and didn't aquire it illegally either. I have many friends (older than myself) who fit nicely into that category, are rather unassuming, and still make the Hilton's look like paupers. The other thing I notice, is that a large number of them drive SUVs on a regular basis, Yukons and the like.

    As far as Jag being started as a "middle class" car company that comment has no merrit. Why not go back to the beginning? Jaguar should not exist, as it was originally a side-car company before its name was changed. It is illogical, saying that things began one way is no guarantee of a similar end. Time is the guarantor of change- and their is no logical method to differentiate time- by virtue of the fact that time is on a continuum.

    Middle know the Queen of England is driven around in, depending, either a Daimler (manufactured by Jag- same thing as the Super V8) or the production armoured Jag (a $400,000 car)- that is actually the most expensive Jag, BTW- it is the world's only production armored vehicle. Of course, there are national interests involved with that. Be that as it may, I really don't see how a car company that manufactured $625,000 supercars (XJ 220) can be middle class- this was even under Ford. Lately though, Jag has been cheaper which I don't like.
  • Well Jaguar did very well indeed as a middle class car, for 40+ years, before it became pretentious and forgot its origins I think. It's been middle class for as long as it has tried to be high class in other words.

    I never thought of the Jaguar as unassuming, but rather too-assuming. The car tries too hard to be upper class when everyone knows that its just nouveau riche....not the same thing can buy the BMW 325i for the same effect seems to me, and you get a lot better car for your $$$. Old money doesn't buy things that depreciate like rocks off a bridge in other words.
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