Ford’s decision to put Jaguar up for sale could see the iconic British marque suffer the same fate as MG Rover, car experts have warned. MG Rover collapsed in 2005, five years after BMW sold it to a group of businessmen.
Ford has appointed investment bankers to explore a sale of Jaguar and Land Rover just three months after it sold Aston Martin to a venture capital consortium for £450m. These brands, along with Volvo, made up Ford’s luxury Premier Automotive Group, which saw losses treble to £166m last year.
Ford has neither confirmed nor denied that it has appointed HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to assess the options for Jaguar and Land Rover but sources say an official announcement is expected later this week. Private equity groups, Hyundai, Peugeot-Citroen and Renault have been put forward as possible suitors.
Guy Masters, UK managing director of global motoring consultancy Courland Automotive Practice, says: “If somebody comes along with enough money and is prepared to make the tough decisions it could be the making of Jaguar. But my concern would be that it could end up going the way of MG Rover – stumbling along for five or six years before imploding.”
Director of the Institute of Automotive Industry Research Professor Garel Rhys believes the queue of buyers will be short. “If I was looking at Jaguar and Land Rover I’d ask myself whether I could succeed in bringing Jaguar to profit and building Land Rover’s profits when Ford hasn’t been able to do it,” he says.