Jaguar Boss: EVs Not A Mass-Market Solution, Cut Subsidies

MAR 12 2013 BY JAY COLE 12

Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Offiver at Jaguar/Land Rover, has taken a page out of fellow CEO (at Chrysler-Fiat) Sergio Marchionne’s and ex-Audi President, Johan de Nysschen’s playbook (here and here), but putting the verbal smack-down on electric vehicles.

The maker of high end luxury vehicles said that electric vehicles could never be a mass-market solution to climate change, while adding that they should not receive any special status of treatments from government.

“At this time I am not a very big friend of electric vehicles.  The batteries are too expensive…the customer must be very rich, and can only (drive them) in mega-cities.  Should we do it only for the rich?”

Mr. Seph With The Recently Cancelled 1.15 Million Dollar, C-X75 Plug-In

Mr. Seph With The Recently Cancelled 1.15 Million Dollar, C-X75 Plug-In

It is hard to not to sense a little irony when listening to Mr. Speth make this statement, considering he is the boss of Jaguar and Land Rover…not exactly the people’s vehicles, known for their inexpensiveness and accessibility to the public.

The cheapest car in the Jaguar stable today in the United States is the XF, which starts at a retail price of $46,975, while Land Rover offers the entry level LRS from $37,295.

Mr Speth said he felt it would be better to offer subsidies once the technology was more substantially improved (or maybe until Jaguar or Land Rover had some plug-in products to offer), and that the free-market should decide if electric vehicles have a place in today’s market.

“The customer is clever enough to decide what he wants or doesn’t want.  Even with lots of subsidy the demand is not very high.”

Jaguar recently cancelled their C-X75 plug-in due to poor demand for the $1.15 million super-car.  While Land Rover also recently debuted an all electric Defender SUV concept in Geneva, but it will remain just that, a concept, as Mr. Seph was quoted as saying that the 50 mile electric version would be “five digits more to buy than the conventional version.”

The Guardian

Categories: Jaguar


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12 Comments on "Jaguar Boss: EVs Not A Mass-Market Solution, Cut Subsidies"

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Total Jaguar US sales for the past two years:

2011: 12,276
2012: 12,011

Sounds like noise from someone that can’t even compete in the market he is in telling us why he’s not venturing into another market. There’s not enough demand? This year there will be more Model S’s sold in the US than his entire brand!


The entire Jaguar brand only sold 1,239 more units than the Leaf by itself for 2012.

But Jaguar does have a problem, because higher CAFE standards are coming, and Jaguar has done nothing to improve their mpg.

Yep.. Its easy to say that Electric Vehicles are no good when your company doesn’t have anything to sell in that area. He’s afraid the subsidies will run out before he has anything to sell and take advantage of said subsidies.

He’s already seeing Tesla eat into his sales. He doesn’t know how to stop them.

Do you ever wonder where those Hatchet Jobs (in media) come from???? From companies like these ones who…….can’t compete…….with antique technology……. just trumpeting their brand name as luxury (even when it’s got nothing new to differentiate)

It sounds like what he is really saying is “My engineers at Jaguar haven’t been able to make an EV to compete with all the other leading EVs so I am going to say it simply can’t be done!” Wah wah wah. The Volvo CEO has made similar statements….

Perhaps he needs a lesson in how to make an affordable EV. First, take an affordable car from your current lineup. Oh. Ummm… Partner with somebody like Toyota and take an affordable car from their lineup? How about the Scion XB?

Strip out all the gasoline related stuff. Put a battery based on rapidly developing technologies, say laptop batteries, into the area where the gas tank was. Run some coolant back there. Drop your Electrical Drive Train into the front. Oh… you don’t have one of those either.

Let’s take a step backwards. Take an expensive existing model. Remove the gasoline engine. Drop in a microturbine to run a generator and your usual Belt driven accessories (you can steal this from a bus if you need to). Buy a Tesla Model X. Steal the rear drive system out of it and drop it into your Jaguar. Sell it for $250k, because clearly you think 1.2 Million is practically Everyman’s car.

“What a gulla-bull. What a nin-cow-poop. What an im-bess-ill. What an ultra-maroon. ”

B. Bunny, 1953

Sour grapes from someone who isn’t getting much of a US federal tax credit. Boo Hoo. The Nissan Leaf is a low cost passenger vehicle along with the upcoming smart42EV. The Via Trucks model is a lowlifecycle cost for small, medium, and medium large trucks, vans and suv’s. All with minimal ‘infrastructure impact’, as all the above vehicles including the entry level leaf either charge at 120 volts (ubiquitous in North America) , or, an easy to supply level 2 at 3.3 kw.

Poor planning it sounds like, wait until their luxury buyers want to go green and leave…


Say whatever you want – it’s all about the batteries and they aren’t there yet. A small player probably is obliged to wait.

Tesla is a small player, and the Model S blows away any Jag, using today’s batteries.