The Jaguar Car
Jaguar Cars Limited is a British luxury car manufacturer, with headquarters in Browns Lane, Coventry, England. It was founded as SS Cars Ltd in 1922 and changed its name to Jaguar in 1945. The company is presently owned by the Indian company Tata Motors since 2008 and was previously owned by the Ford Motor Company. Jaguar has an engineering division in Whitley, Coventry.
Jaguar’s business was founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, originally making motorcycle sidecars before developing bodies for passenger cars. Under the ownership of S. S. Cars Limited the business extended to complete cars made in association with Standard Motor Co many bearing Jaguar as a model name. The company’s name was changed from S. S. Cars to Jaguar Cars in 1945. A merger with the British Motor Corporation followed in 1966, the resulting enlarged company now being renamed as British Motor Holdings (BMH). It merged with Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968 and became British Leyland, itself to be nationalized in 1975.
Jaguar was de-merged from British Leyland and was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1984. It became a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index until it was acquired by Ford in 1990. Jaguar has, in recent years, manufactured cars for the British Prime Minister, the most recent delivery being an XJ in May 2010. The company also holds royal warrants from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.
Jaguar cars today are designed in Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering centers at the Whitley plant in Coventry and at their Gaydon site in Warwickshire. They are assembled in their plants at Castle Bromwich and Solihull.
In September 2013 Jaguar Land Rover announced plans to open a 100 million GBP (160 million USD) research and development center in the University of Warwick, Coventry to create a new generation of vehicle technologies. The carmaker said around 1,000 academics and engineers would work there and that construction would start in 2014.
The Swallow Sidecar Company was founded in 1922 by two motorcycle enthusiasts, William Lyons and William Walmsley. In 1934 Walmsley elected to sell-out and Lyons formed S.S. Cars Limited funding the replacement of Walmsley’s investment by issuing shares to the public. The SS Jaguar name first appeared in September 1935 on a 2.5-litre saloon, sports models of which were the SS 90 and SS 100.
On 23 March 1945 the S. S. Cars shareholders in general meeting agreed to change the company’s name to Jaguar Cars Limited. Said Chairman William Lyons “Unlike S. S. the name Jaguar is distinctive and cannot be connected or confused with any similar foreign name.”
Though five years of pent-up demand ensured plenty of buyers. However, the production was hampered by shortage of materials, particularly steel, issued to manufacturers until the 1950s by a central planning authority under strict government control. Jaguar sold Motor Panels, a pressed steel body manufacturing company bought in the late 1930s, to steel and components manufacturer Rubery Owen. Jaguar bought from John Black’s Standard Motor Company the plant where Standard built Jaguar’s six-cylinder engines. From this time Jaguar was entirely dependent for their bodies on external suppliers.
Jaguar made its name by producing a series of successful eye-catching sports cars, the Jaguar XK120 (1948–54), Jaguar XK140 (1954–57), Jaguar XK150 (1957–61), and Jaguar E-Type (1961-75), all embodying Lyons’ mantra of “value for money”. The sports cars were successful in international motorsport, a path followed in the 1950s to prove the engineering integrity of the company’s products.
Jaguar Cars are ‘by appointment’ to HM The Queen and Prince Charles.