Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/09/19

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Subject: [Leica] Lost Faith in Leica - Ford & F1 Jaguar
From: lambroving at (William G. Lamb, III)
Date: Sun Sep 19 10:55:31 2004

Hello Gerry,

Jag's problems have developed under Premier Auto Group management, or lack 
thereof. They were forced to build a car on a Ford platform in which they 
had no interest. That car is dragging them down. Ford is particularly 
incapable of understanding any sort of history or tradition. To Ford, Jag 
is just a "brand". They really don't "get it". Jag's heritage is around 
Coventry. Closing that plant is a real slap.

At the moment Ford have threatened to close Solihull and move Land Rover 
production elsewhere. This plan appears to have been averted. I never 
seriously believed it anyway since Ford just invested $1,600,000,000 in the 
T-5 line there for the next generation of Land Rover-designed products. 
Still..., were Solihull to be closed, the "real" Land Rover would be dead. 
It was a huge struggle to get Ford to accept Land Rover's new platform 
which is not "shared". The Solihull workers don't make as much trouble as 
the Coventry, Longbridge types do either. 

 From my own observations selling Land Rovers in the U.S. for eighteen 
years, Ford have little understanding of niche marketing and tend to blame 
the brand when their own marketing and strategy fails. It never occurs to 
Ford to ask anyone who knows how to do it what moves need to come next. In 
the Ford corporate culture it would appear that no manager asks a 
subordinate for advice. This would appear to be the "kiss of death".

Would agree with Frank that the loss of Cosworth would be a real problem. 
All of Jag's modern engines have been Cosworth designs, and the latest 
batch of 4,4 Litre V-8's for Land Rover are Cosworth variants of the Jag 4.2.

I knew something was not quite right when Bob Dover retired last year. Bob 
had been the Production Director of Land Rover in the mid-eighties and was 
hired away to Ford as chief engineer of Jaguar. Many consider Bob 
responsible for the Jag Renaissance and the quality result Jag has today. 
Bob went on to turn Aston Martin around and then back to Land Rover to run 
all three bands from Gaydon. Bob must have seen the "handwriting on the 


At 09:43 AM 09/19/2004 +0100, you wrote:
>Ford, the owner of Jaguar is apparently doing badly. Traditionally Ford 
>has supported racing, the current management do not. Cosworth Racing is 
>also up for sale. Cosworth have designed, built and supported all Ford 
>racing engines since the '60s, they are sole supplier to the American CART 
>series and make the Chevrolet badged IRL engine. They are probably the 
>best race engine designers in the world. If they go down all pure racing 
>will suffer.
>In the US people like to watch tuned road car style racing. Elsewhere most 
>money goes into F1 which has killed off smaller formula cars. The big car 
>companies pulling out was predicted as was the storm we have to come. When 
>I started F1 full time in 1976, there were probably fewer than 500 people 
>in all the teams combined. Now Ferrari have 750 (to make 8 cars a year! 
>and FWIW 1500 people to make the 4000 road cars)
>The problem is car companies have money beyond sport's widest dreams for 
>marketing, this caused monstrous inflation ( there were 23 employees at 
>Williams when I joined in 1978, there are about 500 now) lets hope the 
>majority stay!
>On 18 Sep, 2004, at 23:12, Phong wrote:
>>I heard of the Jaguar F1 team on National Public Radio, yesterday,
>>and thought of you, Frank.  They also taled about substantial
>>job reduction in the Jaguar line.
>>- Phong
>>-----Original Message-----
>>Sent: Sep 18, 2004 2:25 AM
>>Subject: Re: [Leica] Lost Faith in Leica
>>In a message dated 18/09/2004 05:20:09 GMT Daylight Time,
>> writes:
>>Sadly  yesterday Ford announced the closing of the Jaguar  factory
>>Not quite true Frank - they announced the closure of one of the  Jaguar
>>factories to rationalise production at another plant.
>>Gerry  Walden LRPS
>>_www.gwpics.com_ (
>>+44  (0)23 8046 3076