Well one of the big stories taking up virtual column inches at the moment is the poor state that Jaguar Land Rover is now in. Pundits are already finger pointing and suggesting that the company should get government help. The pundits are already falling over themselves to offer their verdicts on what the company should do. No, instead their owners have deep pockets they should help them out. Oh, no, another tune: the company should fold.

Like vultures, aren’t they.

There’s a couple of points I’d like to make on this. Strangely enough. Firstly, these ‘bailouts’ that were given to the American big boys and are being debated for the British luxury brands aren’t that. They’re loan guarantees and not hand outs, meaning that the companies have to pay them back and usually at a fairly interest heavy rate. Anyone even passingly familiar with the original Chrysler crisis and salvation will tell you that. Plus, the government aren’t about to start giving money away and getting into the car business, anyone remember Leyland Daf?

Anyone?

Then again they’re not likely to let them fail. Not just because it would mean finding another supplier for their own cars but because it would cost them more if they did. Think of how many people are reliant on these companies. It’s not just the people you associate with them in the showrooms. There’s production line staff and suppliers that rely on the income and sales generated by these two. The cost of all the workers on the dole alone should be enough to warrant a helping hand. But it’s not a helping hand-out.

The other one I heard yesterday that made me laugh was that the company makes too many prestige and luxurious cars and should look at other options. Of course they do! That’s what they’re known for and it’s why people buy them. While I’m not one for buying luxurious and prestige cars, I understand why people do. A cheap new Jaguar wouldn’t work, you want proof? Where’s the Rover 75? People buy these cars for the same reason that Stella Artois warrant their heftier price: the assurance of quality and something special.

If they make a new Jaguar or a new Land Rover that starts sacrificing their luxury then they’re going to be cutting their biggest selling point. You’ll end up with a Mondeo with walnut veneer. That’s not what car buyers want in a Jag.

Yes, the company is struggling but given that Toyota is about to post its first full year loss since 1937 it’s hardly surprising. The automotive industry is flagging in general but producing knock-off motors isn’t the way to become a viable business.

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