Don’t give Jaguar state money

It is always bad news when a car company thinks the answer to its problems is state aid.

As a long standing customer of Jaguar, I have never known the company offer such poor responses as it does today.

I have answered several of their surveys, but never once had a proper reply to the points I have made or to the complaints I have registered. Enquiries to switch vehicles are not followed up. The press comments to launch the XF concentrated on insulting people who had bought S types in the past, never a good sales strategy. Clearly they have failed to find all the new buyers they thought would replace the people who used to buy the S type.

Any government faced with a cash request from them should tell them to go and woo back their customers. Its sales they need, not subsidy.

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20 Comments

  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Yep, the mechanism that made British Leyland or Trabant, the powerhouses they were, will do more or less the same for anyone who eats the fruit of this particular poison tree.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Agree with your points about customer service John, although I do not own a Jaguar a number of our friends do.
    Thought Jaguar was an Indian based/owned Company now.
    The UK should say TA TA to any requests for help.
    Aware that this puts some jobs in the UK at risk, but this Company was only bought within the last 12 months by the present owners.
    The Government have of course not helped, by putting all of Jaguar cars customers in the, “we will make them pay” class,
    with rises in Road fund licence, fuel duty, and additional Showroom tax due next year.
    Possible customers have voted with their feet and now look at alternatives more than they used to.
    Its the usual, interfere with market forces, and it comes back to bite you syndrome.
    The Government will never learn.
    Force people in one direction, and you get an equal and opposite reaction in another.
    Secondhand Jaguars however are now good value for money, if you want comfort refinement and do not do many miles per year.
    5 year old models in good condition, with full service history about £6,000.

  3. Ruth
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I am not sure if the problem lies with the manufacturers or the dealers who are, quite frankly, crap.

    Two years ago this weekend I went out to buy a car. I knew exactly what I wanted, but did want to test drive the car to be sure. The first dealer I went to showed little interest. I asked about a test drive. They said no-one was available, could I wait? I did, only to see later arrivals being prioritised for service over me. I left.

    The second dealer greeted me with “there’s no-one in from this section today”. “So you can’t sell me a car then?” “No”.

    So I went online and bought my car from jamjar. Excellent service, cheaper than if I had bought from a dealer. Highly recommended.

    At one time, my car could only be serviced at a dealership. I therefore had to go back to the second dealer some time later. They arranged to pick up my car on a specific day and time, never turned up. How to lose customers!

    Now, thankfully, manufacturers are no longer allowed to restrict service in this way so I can take my car to a helpful friend of the family who will charge me half the price of a service in the dealership and do a better job.

    I did give feedback to the manufacturer of my car as to the abysmal service I received, but never heard anything more about it. You’re right, why should we prop these companies up?

  4. chris southern
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    It has become too easy for large companies to treat customers poorly and operate in a manner detrimnetal to their long term future.
    They then think in the current climate, that they can bully the goverment into subsidising their poor business model.
    What a world we live in, where even companies wish to survive on welfare.

    Thats what happens when the state gets involved directly in the market, unfortunately not too many people realise this any more. As such, more and more politicians interfere and the west gets even more unproductive and uncompetative.

    Ah well, twelve more months to damage assesment day.

  5. oldrightie
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Jaguar will move to India for cheap, non-unionised labour. TATA want the cost of that move paid for by us. Any saving of jobs will be temporary.
    I favour DC’s small bank ideas rolled out for industry. Small, efficient, local companies with a loyal and dedicated workforce aware of theor pride and skills. Local shipyards, motor car design and builders. back to the future please. It will happen anyway as flying gets ever more expensive and non cost effective. Globalisation a rubbish and failed concept. Or at least past it’s sell by date. That does not mean the death of trade, rather the expansion from surplus domestic production. How it’s suposed to be. Trouble with this idea, however, is it is difficult to control and manipulate by Corporate and giant banking interests.

  6. oldrightie
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    “theor” was mis-typed, should be their, of course.

  7. Lola
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Mrs Lola has a Jaguar. Local dealer service is very good, as was the quality of the salesman who sold us the car. But, I agree about corporate Jaguar. This seems to me to be a recent thing. Landrover was always a bit of a pain, so perhaps Jaguar have caught the disease from them.

    Jaguar Landrover is a niche manufacturer. They invested heavily in the years of easy money, which as we all know leads to malinvestment. Now that the circus has left town and they have run out of customers. They have good products, so what they now need to do is to work out how to sell them. Poor customer service is not what they need, is it?

    I also think that their marketing is, well, crap. The brand value of Landrover rests on the reputation of its utility vehicle range, which is not now core to their business. They need to beef up the Defender proposition so that the go-anywhere-do anything success of that feeds into the image of the other vehicles. They have forgotten their roots.

    The same is true for Jaguar. They became successful on the back of Le Mans and saloon car racing, with those sporting values feeding back into the range. You do not need to go back to Le Mans with a prototype as they did in the 80’s but using the XK Coupe as a base they could have excellent GT1 and GT3 exposure as Aston have sought to do. They could put the X Type into BTCC.

    So, I do not think it is just poor service, it’s a cultural thing, combined with malinvestment brought about by Darling Gordon’s stupid policies.

  8. mikestallard
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Coventry, Liverpool, West Midlands, Solihull, Birmingham.
    What do all these places have in common I wonder?
    Could it be that they are all Labour controlled /marginals?
    Also, maybe, these are the places where Jaguar cars are produced, sold and organised…….

  9. Renee
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Taking another angle on this, when a company is in trouble (like most nowadays) and we all know the car industry is suffering, and standards are bound to slip. This is not deliberate, just seems inevitable. Today, you are doing a survey and stating the obvious about their customer service – at this rate, tomorrow, there will be no Jaguar so the survery you complain about wont really be an issue now will it?

  10. Bazman
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Jaguar in America has one of the best records for service. They have to have this as the cars quality is second rate.

  11. Kieran
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Jaguar – we’re skint

    Government – how many manufactured cars do you currently have parked up in stock unsold

    Jag – six thousand

    Govt – and why are they unsold?

    Jag – because people cannot afford to buy them

    Govt – Drop your prices then!

  12. Christopher Watson
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely agree regarding sales.

    What Jaguar need is a good rival to the BMW 1 & 3 series, but what does this company go and do? Launch a new XJ for around £50K.

    Buyers for that car will be short on the ground and as for the XF, I have only ever seen one!

    Jag desperately needs a volume seller, the models they have do not attract sufficient buyers. Sad but true.

  13. uk Fred
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    I think that the problem for Jaguar and Land Rover is that the government has been trying to tax them out of existence and now that the policy has worked we have crocodile tears about the lost jobs. While the speed of the onset of recession has taken many by surprise, this is Tata’s problem. After all, what are they saying about LDV at Washwood Heath and some of their problems were caused by a cancelled government order.

    • Mark M
      Posted May 5, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Got it in one. The government’s punitive taxes on petrol have driven people away from the high-end gas guzzlers as they have once again failed to grasp the basic law of taxation, the Laffer curve.

      Now they are surprised that companies who exclusively make high-end gas guzzlers are going out out business. They really haven’t got a clue, have they?

  14. Simon
    Posted May 5, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    You should buy a Landrover. I have had a few and the service and follow up has been impeccable. Maybe I chose a good dealer where the staff do go out of their way to help, nothing seems to be too much trouble for them and they are always willing to lend a new model for a few days of test driving. Get one, they’re every bit as good as a Jag with every gadget imaginable built in. Mine’s even got a TV built in that gets all the digital channels including Sky News, Sports, Parliament Channel and a lot of those shopping channels if you’re that way inclined. Highly recommended.

  15. Andrew Duffin
    Posted May 5, 2009 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    @Ruth: “Now, thankfully, manufacturers are no longer allowed to restrict service in this way”

    Ha! They’re ahead of you.

    The motor manufacturers have lobbied the EU and before long they will no longer be obliged to provide the third-party trade with the diagnostic codes needed to work on their increasingly-complex products.

    So your friend will be unable to anything with your car, and you’ll be back to the dealership – whose prices, mysteriously, will increase even further after this happens.

    Hooray for the EU! How would we manage without it?

  16. UK Voter
    Posted May 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I have always been a major fan of Jaguar cars and have owned one for 20 of the past 25 years. But, I do not believe that a company owned by a foreign entity should receive any form of loan of state subsidy. As with all businesses, if they are to survive, they must offer the public what they want at a price they can afford and then, this is critical, ensure that loyal customers are treated as if they matter. More companies lose future business post-sale than pre-sale and that is because they typically pay lip service to customer care.

  17. John
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Absolutely correct. They need to get their house, namely the appointed Dealers, in order first.
    I like my Jaguar. When it goes, it goes beautifully, but when it fails, you really find out what owning a Jaguar means.
    Their Dealers are aloof, unhelpful and expensive.
    Telephone for assistance and you can’t get past the girl on the switchboard. After explaining your problem, you get the stock response, “just a minit”. and back she comes with some sort of crass answer. Their service department assistants are just too (words left out)’busy’ to deal with the people that pay their wages.

  18. Jon
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much ill informed rubbish as here. Jaguar and Land Rover are not suffering for any other reason than we are in the midst of a global economic crisis, caused by lack of government regulation of the banks (who have already been bailed out) and during which global car sales have slumped by 40% (that’s everybody, not just JLR). Even Toyota are shutting plants and posting losses.

    Jaguar reliability is now one of the best in the world (see Adam Collyer’s comment), and Mr Redwood’s comment about the XF is completely in contradiction of the sales figures which are good despite the economic crash (just not quite good enough to avoid making losses like everyone else!)

    The German government is even looking into bailing out Opel, the French have already bailed out Renault and GM and Chrysler have had billions of US government money before filing Chapter 11. I think the Govermnent needs to follow suit and not let the rest of the world’s automotive industry with their local governments’ support have an unfair advantage.

    Look at the facts before forming an opinion.

    PS. I do have to agree that I have also heard lots of reports of poor customer service, espacially from sales departments… maybe the dealers should be learning from their US colleagues, where Jaguar are top of the JD Power customer satisfaction survey!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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