The past few weeks have brought some changes and challenges for Jaguar Land Rover. CEO Thierry Bolloré resigned for personal reasons a few weeks ago, and production continues to be hampered by supply chain issues. However, on a bright spot, JLR is looking to hire for their growing technology departments from the many people let go from Silicon Valley companies in the past few weeks.
The biggest news is definitely the departure of CEO Thierry Bolloré. Bolloré came to JLR in 2020, replacing Ralf Speth, who ran the company for a decade. Speth operated the company with an idea of massive growth, planning to pit JLR directly against European luxury giants BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.
Bolloré came in with a different view, looking at how that unfettered growth idea had not worked for the bottom line. He made a new plan which cut several programs, including the new all-electric Jaguar XJ that was already running around in prototype form. He spearheaded the Reimagine program, JLR’s blueprint for an electrified and sustainable future, which includes turning Jaguar into an ultra-high-end electric-only marque.
After two years, Bolloré has abruptly resigned as CEO, citing “personal reasons.” There is much speculation that it had to do with JLR’s profitability issues in light of the supply chain and chip issues that plague the entire auto industry, but it’s also entirely possible that it’s just what it says – a reason beyond the bounds of business. Either way, his impact on JLR in just two years was huge, taking the company for a huge and daring swing into the future of automaking.
However, the past two years of chip shortages and supply chain constraints have not gotten that much better, and JLR now finds itself having to ration chips. Because of this, JLR are cutting production through March, so that they can focus the chips that they do have on their highest-profit vehicles. Currently, the order book is 205,000 vehicles deep, and the red-hot market for new Defenders, Range Rovers, and Range Rover Sports isn’t helping. To help mitigate the issues, they’re cutting production on the Range Rover Velar and Jaguar F-Pace to a single shift at Solihull until March, while dropping the Halewood factory that makes Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport to a single shift. But they’re also adding an extra shift to the Range Rover panel stamping line, as the factory puts its major focus on moving more high-profit Rangies out the door. By doing all this, they can focus on high-demand and high-profit products to help build cash flow to get the rest of the company back on track.
There is one place things are growing though, and that’s in the technical staff. In the past few weeks, Silicon Valley social media companies have made enormous cuts to their workforce, between Facebook/Meta’s re-evaluation of their Metaverse concept, and Elon Musk’s intense rearrangement at Twitter. Amazon is also on the cusp of major job cuts, and others are sure to follow as the economy looks set to stumble in 2023.
Seeing an opportunity to find talented people to fill in their staff working on electrification, AI, and autonomy, JLR put out job postings for 800 employees on a website for fired Silicon Valley employees. The hope: a few hundred people with strong tech resumes can help catapult JLR into the future.
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