JLR: Strengths and Weaknesses

The ultimate strength of the Land Rover brand is their heritage, something they have tried to keep consistent throughout their years of manufacture; even as they are taken over by Tata (which can be seen as a weakness and strength) individuals within the company, such as Simon Moger, want to keep JLR within the country, source locally, and retain the original heritage. But then the Indian influence of the new ownership; although good for production levels, means that the standing the company has in the UK could be moved to India and China as these are shaping up to be the largest car markets in the world.

 Although changing ownership of Jeep saw redesigns of cars for the better and worst, Land Rover stayed true to their design throughout their ever changing ownership. The overall design of the models has never changed drastically; they are identifiable as Land Rovers and Range Rovers, adding to the brand strength. Even the Evoque is more identifiable as a Range Rover, even with a squashed roof and more menacing look, it’s still undeniable a Range Rover.

The way the vehicles are put together, using both people and robots in a semi-automatic assembly line, allows the company to mass produce models on a huge scale. However, because this isn’t just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing, it means that the company could be over-zealous in production and produce too many units that they cannot shift. Nonetheless the use of robots means lower costs as there is less employees to pay, and the job can be done a lot quicker; saving time and cost = bonus!

This is a link to the manufacturing at Halewood Plant Factory. I included this because it shows the usage of both person and robot and gives an idea to how each part is put together.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfo_3hYdlTg

It’s also pretty handy for the company that they are taking on the culture of innovation; the Land Rover website exploits the fact that the company are working on new models with more refinement, more innovative technology, more efficiency and fewer emissions to take the company forward and “keep it at the cutting edge of technology and engineering.” This too is a strength because it means that whilst other companies are also taking steps forward to counteract the effects of global warming and such, JLR are in keeping with the competition, allowing them to stay one step ahead in the 4×4 game. The company says: “Land Rover will remain at the forefront of advanced design.”

The continued development has seen JLR sales increases of 58% in the world’s largest car market; China as they sold 17, 152 vehicles in three months up until September 2012. Although this is a strength for the company as they are clearly still one of the leading companies in the world for 4×4, and making sales like that in a climate where people are lacking money and executives are grumbling at pollution-producing 4×4’s, it was China from where their sales rose, not the UK. However, the company announced that they sold 68,586 cars in the UK in 2012, which would be 19% up on 2011. It would seem that Evoque had a strong year, supplying the company with 18,119 sales.

A constant nagging weakness, however, is that the company relies on the redefining and re-developing of 4×4’s. In a world where demands and car needs are changing, it would seem risky to hedge all your bets on cars that are not only expensive to buy, but expensive to run. In an economic situation where jobs are thin on the ground, and if you have a job its stability is shifting, it would seem unreliable to focus a company’s energies on producing cars that potentially no one can afford. However, with the sales reports of 2012, it would appear that JLR are doing just fine, and the fact they are researching into new technologies to enable them to keep up with environmental change would certainly add hope that there is still room for them on the road.

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