Jaguar Logo

Jaguar Cars Limited is a luxury car manufacturer, originally based at Browns Lane, Coventry, England but now at Whitley, Coventry. It was founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, changing to SS Cars Ltd in 1934, and finally becoming Jaguar Cars Ltd in 1945.

The name is ˈdʒægjuːɚ "jag-u-ar" (except for in North America where it is pronounced {dʒægwɑr}) with the term "Jag" being used colloquially.

Because Jaguar occupies both the performance and luxury markets, its competition is particularly diverse. It includes BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Cadillac, Lexus, Infiniti, as well as Lincoln in the U.S..


Founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, by two motorcycle enthusiasts, William Lyons and William Walmsley, the Jaguar name first appeared on a 2.5 Litre saloon in 1935. This name was given to the entire company when SS Cars Ltd was renamed Jaguar Cars Ltd after World War II because of the unfavourable connotations of the initials, SS.

Jaguar merged with the British Motor Corporation (BMC), the Austin-Morris combine, to form British Motor Holdings (BMH) in 1966. After merger with Leyland and Rover, the resultant company then became British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC) in 1968. Financial difficulties and the publication of the Ryder Report led to effective nationalisation in 1975 and the company became British Leyland Ltd (BL).

In 1984, Jaguar was floated off as a separate company on the stock market - one of the Thatcher government's many privatisations. It took the Vanden Plas name with it. It was then taken over by Ford in 1989-1990. In 1999 it was made part of Ford's now defunct Premier Automotive Group along with Aston Martin and Volvo Cars. Land Rover was added to the group in 2001 following its purchase from BMW.

The company was originally located in Blackpool but moved to Coventry in 1928 when demand for the Austin Swallow became too great for the factory's capacity. Today, Jaguars are assembled at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham and Halewood in Liverpool. The historic Browns Lane plant closed in 2005, leaving the XJ, XK and S-Type production at Castle Bromwich and the X-Type at Halewood, alongside the new Land Rover Freelander 2, from 2007.

Jaguar also owns the Daimler car company (not to be confused with Daimler-Benz), which it bought in 1960 from Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA). Since the late 1960s, Daimler has been a brand name for Jaguar's most luxurious saloons.

Since Land Rover's 2002 purchase by Ford, it has been closely associated with Jaguar. In many countries they share a common sales and distribution network (including shared dealerships), and some models now share common components, although the only shared production facility is Halewood, for the X-Type and the Freelander 2.

On March 26, 2008 Jaguar Cars and Land Rover both of England were sold from the Ford Motor Company to Indian owned and operated Tata Motors for about 2 billion US dollars.

Jaguar Cars holds Royal Warrants from both HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Charles.

Divestiture process

On 11 June 2007, Ford announced that it planned to sell Jaguar, along with Land Rover. Ford retained the services of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and HSBC to advise it on the deal. The sale was initially expected to be announced by September 2007, but was delayed till the beginning of 2008. Private equity firms such as Alchemy Partners of the UK, TPG Capital, Ripplewood Holdings (which hired former Ford Europe executive Sir Nick Scheele to head its bid), Cerberus Capital Management and One Equity Partners (owned by JP Morgan Chase and managed by former Ford executive Jacques Nasser) of the US, besides Tata Motors of India and a consortium comprising Mahindra and Mahindra (an auto manufacturer from India) and Apollo Management had initially expressed interest in purchasing the marques from the Ford Motor Company.

Before the sale was announced, Anthony Bamford, chairman of British excavators manufacturer JCB had expressed interest in purchasing the company in August 2006, only to back out later when told the sale would also involve Land Rover, which he did not intend to buy. Tata Motors have received endorsements from the Transport And General Worker's Union (TGWU)-Amicus combine as well as from Ford. On Christmas Eve of 2007, Mahindra and Mahindra backed out of the race for both brands, citing complexities in the deal.

On January 1, 2008, Ford made a formal announcement which declared Tata as the preferred bidder. According to the rules of the auction process, this announcement would not automatically disqualify any other potential suitor. However, Ford (as well as representatives of Unite) would now be able to enter into more focused and detailed discussions with Tata to iron out issues ranging from labour concerns (job security and pensions), technology (IT systems and engine production) and intellectual property, as well as the final sale price. Ford would also open its books for a more comprehensive due diligence by Tata. On March 18 2008, Reuters reported that American bankers Citigroup and JP Morgan shall be underwriting a loan of USD 3 billion in order to finance the deal. On March 25, 2008, a deal was made to sell Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata for $2 billion.

Historical Models

The Jaguar company started production with the pre-war 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 Litre models which used engines designed by the Standard Motor Company. The 1.5 Litre 4 cylinder engine was still supplied by Standard but the two larger six cylinder ones were made in house.

The first post war model was the 1948 Mark V available with either 2.5 or 3.5 Litre engines and had a more streamlined appearance than the pre-war models but more important was the change to independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes.

The big breakthrough was the launch in 1948 of the XK120 sports car with the new XK twin overhead cam, 3.5 Litre, six cylinder engine designed by William Heynes and Claude Bailey. This car had originally been intended as a short production model of about 200 vehicles as a test bed for the new engine until its intended home, the new Mark VII saloon was ready. The XK120's reception was such that production continued until 1954 and it was followed by the XK140, XK150 and E-Type models, keeping Jaguar in the sports car market.

Introducing the large Mark VII Saloon in 1951, a car especially conceived for the American Market, Jaguar soon found itself overwhelmed with orders. The Mark VII and its successors gathered rave reviews from magazines such as Road & Track and Motor. In 1956 a Jaguar Mark VII won the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally.

The 1955 Mark 1 small saloon was the first monocoque (unibody) car from Jaguar and used a 2.4 Litre short stroke version of the XK engine. In 1959, the car was improved with a larger engine and wider windows and became the Mark 2, one of the most recognizable Jaguar models ever produced.

The Mark VIII of 1956 and Mark IX of 1958 were essentially updates of the Mark VII but the Mark X of 1961 was a completely new design of Jaguar large saloon with all round independent suspension and unibody construction.

The independent rear suspension from the Mark X was incorporated in the 1963 S-Type which closely resembled the Mark 2, and in 1967 the Mark 2 name was dropped when the small saloon became the 240/340 range. The 420, also sold as the Daimler Sovereign, of 1966 put a new front onto the S-type although both cars continued in parallel until the S-Type was dropped in 1968. The Mark X became the 420G in 1966.

Of the more recent saloons, the most significant is the XJ (1968-present), still the definitive Jaguar saloon car for many. Since 1968 the Series I XJ has seen major changes in 1973 (to Series II), 1979 (Series III), 1986 [Europe] / 1987 [United States] (XJ40), 1995 (X300), 1997 (to the V-8 powered X308), 2003 (the present model, X350). The most luxurious XJ models carry either the Vanden Plas or Daimler nameplates.


Cars manufactured by Jaguar:

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