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
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."