Friday, January 25, 2008

Ford to sell more than Jaguar/Land Rover?

Indian nationalists are excited about Tata's probable acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover in the near future. The possibility of an Indian company competing in the luxury automobile market is something that hasn't happened before. The people of India should be excited about the possibilities. But a recent article from New Delhi takes the dream farther than it should.
A great automotive marque coming bundled with the Jaguar brand name is a significant detail which most have overlooked in the acquisition spree by Tatas of the two iconic British brands forming part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group. This automotive marque is Daimler, the iconic upmarket brand which for years represented the upper crust of the British market along with rivals like Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Napier in its hey days.

"Daimler: Gem in Jaguar lair" in The Times of India

Before you jump on the band wagon with the writer, consider seven important words in the above quotation: "which for years represented the upper crust." The writer of the article reveals Daimler's storied history in the upper echelon of luxury automobiles. But he fails to mention that today it is known simply as a re-badge (forgive me) of a Jaguar XJ. Sure, the price hits six-figures. But to make the assumption that a Tata owned Daimler will now take on the likes of Bentley and Rolls Royce is a bit of a stretch. I'm not the first to think so.
The Daimler Super Eight is essentially a fancified Jaguar XJ long-wheelbase sedan fitted with all the top-level XJ options. The British car company Daimler began building cars in 1897 and was purchased by Jaguar in 1962. Over the past couple of decades, Daimlers have been little more than gussied up and rebadged Jaguar XJs. The last Daimlers built were 2002 models, and there's hardly been a clamoring for their return.

"Daimler Super Eight" in Automobile magazine

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