The growth of JLR

I didn’t realise it until the press conference was just about to start: the 2013 Land Rover Freelander 2 and Jaguar XJ AWD event in Canada was the first dual JLR international event the firm has ever run.

Remarkable, because most of us assumed they’d been doing it for years.

In a sense, of course, they have, here in the UK: just a few months ago, I went to a drive event for the 3.0 SC Jaguar XJ (aka the XJ with the F-Type motor), followed by a technical briefing for the new Range Rover.

But it’s not been done on an international level; ‘JLR’ has not been combined in a single launch entity and rolled out to journalists across the globe. The dynamic brand association hasn’t quite been delivered to the press in this way before, despite JLR being born back in 2008.

Of course, that we Brits didn’t actually realise shows how convincing the JLR group is as an entity and a business already. During conversation over dinner with Land Rover Global Brand Director John Edwards, he expressed satisfaction that we were all calling it ‘JLR’ rather than Jaguar.

Some parts of the press are guilty of using ‘Jaguar’ when referencing Jaguar Land Rover, which is ironic given how it’s Land Rover delivering all the profits…

However, don’t worry. Despite this satisfaction at JLR being an acknowledged entity, there’ll never be any JLR-specific branding. We’re not gong to see some form of British Leyland-style plughole logo stuck to the wing here. Been there, done that.

Indeed, all the other grim parts of BL multi-branding will never afflict JLR. Of all the firms operating multi-brand groups, it’s the one with the biggest list of historic horrors to learn from. Its past, hopefully, can only make it stronger in the future.

Instead, we’ll see the German model of multi-brand operation evolve here. Volkswagen Group, BMW Group and so on all let their brands stand alone under the merest hint of parent group umbrella, where necessary, and JLR wants to mirror this. The engineers’ gentle explanation of how group intelligence was used to create the Jaguar AWD system, rather than plain Land Rover IP, is evidence of this.

Oh, and of course, being an industry geek, I’ll keep my Jaguar Land Rover branded notepad and propelling pencil I got on the launch. Who knows what an important statement they could represent in years to come…

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