Just 10 years ago, England's infamous Jaguar automobile manufacturer was truly in the dumps. In a J.D. Power & Associates Inc. quality survey, it had more defects per car than the infamous Yugo.Now, Jaguar is roaring to the top, and in a recent study by J.D. Power & Associates, Inc. The once-defunct Jaguar is racing ahead of notable brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus. More notably, Jaguar sales are increasing exponentially, and in 1999, the company posted its best-ever sales in 77 years. In fact, in 1999, exports were at an all-time high, with more than 17,000 autos being exported to Europe, marking a 62 percent increase over 1998, with sales to Spain, Greece, and East Europe more than doubling. Back home in England, Jaguar is becoming more popular too. The company sold more than 15,000 Jags in England, an increase of 33 percent over 1998.
Ford Motor Company acquired Jaguar in 1989 and forged a partnership, investing heavily in the car manufacturer. Ford's automotive segment consists of the design, manufacture, assembly, and sale of cars and trucks and related parts and accessories. The company's cars and trucks are sold and manufactured throughout the world, with the United States and Europe being Ford's biggest markets. Ford's automotive segment produces vehicles under the brands Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar, and now, recently acquired, Volvo. In order to increase the international market share of its products, Ford is diversifying its product lines, investing heavily in luxury cars, and actively increasing product lines to capitalize on Jaguar's new-found success.
Ford purchased Jaguar in 1989 for $2.6 million, spending more than $6 billion to reinvent one of England's premier automakers. Ford's famous tagline, Quality is Job Number One, represented what was sure to be the key to success for Jaguar. Ford overhauled Jaguar's product line and worked cooperatively with Jaguar by letting them work to their strengths and supplying top engineers to infuse Jaguar engines and platforms with state-of-the-art technology and quality. Additionally, Ford sent some of its retired executives over to England for a six-month stay to teach Ford-style teamwork to top Jaguar executives, empowering them to implement successful American tactics for increased productivity and standards. In 1993, Ford overhauled the 50-year-old Jaguar plant in Coventry, England, expanding the plant and installing a modern assembly line, resulting in productivity increases of over 400 percent and establishing the plant, Browns Lane, as second in quality, just behind a BMW plant.
In addition, Ford made the power bigger by utilizing Jaguar's high sense of style and is working jointly with Jaguar to build better cars. Ford and Jaguar are co-developing cars to best take advantage of each other's strengths: Ford engineering and Jaguar styling. Together, they have recently developed a platform supporting the Jaguar S-Type and Lincoln LS sedans. The cars are targeted at drivers looking for the BMW style of handling, performance, and luxury.
Engineers worked together in design teams for three years, with Jaguar engineers serving on teams in the United States and Ford engineers serving on teams in England, thus bringing about the best product. The result of which is the Jaguar S-Type V8 sedan, which is currently so popular it has a waiting list of 20,000.
By developing a partnership with Jaguar, Ford took a tremendous risk. In 1989, Ford, as with most American car manufacturers, was grappling with foreign competitors and losing much market share to foreign automakers, most notably Honda, Toyota, and other Japanese companies, which consistently boasted higher quality than that of Ford, Chevrolet, and others. By focusing on quality. Ford has turned itself around. Now, by merging with foreign companies and diversifying its product lines, Ford has become a fierce international competitor and is playing on all fields, offering economy and luxury cars and everything in between. Jaguar's success story is an example of how an international company can work with a foreign counterpart and achieve the best results.
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