From motorcycle sidecars to luxury cars
Think Jaguar and think of the Grace, Space and Pace- its three core virtues immortalized as its marketing slogan for generations. While its marketing punchline may have changed, there is absolutely no doubt that Jaguar still epitomizes those attributes and are the first things that come to mind any time one mentions this luxury car brand.
Jaguar Cars Ltd is a luxury car manufacturer headquartered in Whitley, Coventry in the UK. Since 2008, it has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors Ltd which operates Jaguar Cars as part of its Jaguar Land Rover business.
Founded in 1922 as the Swallow Sidecar Company by Sir William Lyons and William Walmsley to manufacture and sell motorcycle sidecars, Jaguar has undergone several evolutions and ownership changes in its interesting 90-year old history. Merging with the British Motor Corporation in 1968; becoming a part of Leyland; getting listed on the London Stock Exchange and becoming a component of the FTSE 100 index; and becoming a part of the Ford stable are just some of the key landmarks in its wonderful history. This British luxury car manufacturer, which most recently became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Motors, has its home in Whitley, Coventry, England with the cars being manufactured at plants in Birmingham and Liverpool.
The name SS Jaguar was first adopted by the company for a 2.5 litre saloon in 1935; subsequently, the company changed its name to Jaguar in 1945 post World War II to get rid of the "SS" from its name that had rather negative connotations in those times. Today, Jaguar holds a special place in the echelons of British government, having manufactured cars for the British Prime Minister as well as holding royal warrants from the Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.
It took almost 25 years for Jaguar to carve a name for itself. The breakthrough came with a a series of extremely eye-catching sports cars, in the XK 120 of 1949, developed into XK 140 and XK 150, and the E Type (or XKE in the US) of 1961. Even while Jaguar has always been associated with luxury, "value for money" has been an integral part of the philosophy guiding product development at the company.
Jaguar propelled itself after the World War II with some engineering brilliance and making innovations with its engines, starting with the Twin Cam Straight Six Cylinder Engine. This was followed with an engine that became the mainstay of Jaguar cars and used in popular models like the XK 120, Mk VII Saloon, Mk I and II Saloons and XK 140 and I50 as well as the stunning E Type, itself a development from the race winning and Le Mans conquering C and D Type Sports Racing cars (which won the Le Mans 24 hours race in 1951 and 1953).
After purchasing Jaguar in 1989, Ford Motor Company integrated Jaguar to its Premier Automotive Group in 1999/2000 along with Aston Martin, Volvo Cars and Land Rover. Under the aegis of Ford, Jaguar launched its S-Type in 1999 and X-type in 2001. Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors in March 2008.
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