Jaguar confronts poor quality rap with new cars, long warranties – Los Angeles Times

Posted: Thursday, September 03, 2015

It’s not often auto executives speak frankly about their brand’s history of making “bad cars.”

But the chiefs at Jaguar — now under new management — know they have a dubious legacy to overcome. The historically British brand, now owned by Indian giant Tata, had become known for building beautiful machines that never quite ran right, with high maintenance costs and low resale value.

Now the brand is addressing that problem head on, with price cuts, perks and long-term warranties.

“The times of bad cars are over,” said Joe Eberhardt, president and CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America. “This is the next generation of Jaguar. But we need customer confidence to get there.”

Eberhardt, in interviews during last month’s Monterey Car Week, acknowledged that the Jaguar side of the brand has suffered from lingering consumer doubts.

“We have been perceived as a low-volume, high-priced brand,” the executive said. “Jaguar has the reputation that we build unreliable cars that are expensive to maintain.”

To combat that, Jaguar on Thursday announced an aggressive campaign to persuade prospective buyers to give Jaguar another look.

The company has turned expensive options into standard equipment on many models, lowered prices on many vehicles and added extended warranties, while also introducing two new entry-level vehicles that it hopes will expand its reach to younger, more mainstream consumers.

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