Steve Cropley: Why I'm worried about Jaguar

Steve Cropley: Why I'm worried about Jaguar

01 jaguar vision gran turismo

Our man thinks the British brand needs to clearly communicate its future plans

Monday

I’m worried about Jaguar. It’s a year since we revealed the marque’s last concept, the Vision Gran Turismo SV, and even that was only a pawn in a computer game.

It’s also a year since CEO Thierry Bolloré revealed his 2025 plan to refound the marque as an EV range. Since then we’ve had nothing to ‘Reimagine’, not even the emergence of a prominent and determined Jaguar leader that would seem logical. Not even a comment on how it’s going. The only signs of movement are JLR’s sales types battling to shift cars everyone knows will soon be time-expired.

Meanwhile, Jaguar has lost its best-known design leaders. Sure, Gerry McGovern is in charge and he’s a wonderful designer, well proven at building winning Land Rovers. But where’s the evidence he knows what a new-era Jag should be like? If I were in charge, I’d stop enjoying being enigmatic and mysterious and start reassuring long-suffering Jag lovers that the marque (which has always had trouble connecting its heritage to its future) is safe. This is uncharted territory. There’s some unprecedentedly clever communicating to be done – and it’s urgent.

Tuesday

I said goodbye today to the Citroën ë-Berlingo I’ve enjoyed this past week. Remarkably, while it was at my place, this EV magically changed from being a range curiosity to a mainstream product: Stellantis suddenly announced that all future models from this line would be EVs. To someone with my Berlingo proclivities, it was a bombshell. 

The Citroën is nice to drive, and happily uncorrupted by changes in weight distribution brought by an EV powertrain and a 50kWh battery. But in near-freezing conditions its reliable range is 120 miles, not the touted 170.

That’s disastrously far from the 500 miles of ICE versions and negates at a stroke all that happy-family-fun-outdoors stuff promised in Berlingo brochures. It’s another kind of car now, a schoolrunner, which kiboshes my long-held, back-of-mind plan to swap our 18-year-old for a new one. We’ll keep what we have.

Wednesday

I’m trying to decide if the latest announcement to “pause” the smart motorway programme is good news. It is in part, I suppose, given that the highways people are postponing projects not yet started, while reassessing five years’ worth of accidents on those already built. Mind you, it could also be a handy excuse for spending hard to-find development money more slowly. I hear the authorities’ assertions that smart motorways are our safest roads of all but am not impressed. Whenever I’m on one, I’m glad to be in a modern car and not one of the uncertain (now dangerous) machines from my past.

Thursday

Odd problem with our Mini Cooper S. One rear tyre loses pressure very, very slowly, three or four bar every three or four days. It’s enough to trigger the car’s annoyingly vigilant TPM system and spook the Steering Committee – invariably at an awkward part of her commute – even though it advises her that driving on is okay. We’ve given it a new valve and reseated the tyre on the wheel with lots of black gunge. The problem has slowed but not stopped. Anyone know if Minis have porous alloys?

Friday

Note to press release writers: if you want to encourage us motoring hacks to carry your message more directly to our readers, I’d suggest dialling back radically on the use of the word ‘mobility’ when you mean ‘cars’, ‘motorcycles’ or even ‘vehicles’. It’s such a dull term – one I’m rapidly coming to associate with the many who write on automotive subjects without knowing much. Had the same problem with ‘motorist’ years ago. Wise up!

And another thing…

Car bosses become ever less accessible, partly because of the scarcity of motor shows. This does not apply to Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark, though, now as much a spokesman for the whole industry as for his own marque. He joins us for what promises to be a fascinating webinar on 1 February at 3pm. Book your place now here.