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Thierry Bollore takes over as JLR chief executive next month
Thierry Bollore takes over as JLR chief executive next month

Rocky road ahead for JLR’s new CEO

The Frenchman will have the unenviable task of ensuring the British luxury car brand owned by Tata Motors proceeds with plans to make deeper inroads into the growing market for hybrid and electric vehicles

MUMBAI : Former Renault chief executive Thierry Bollore will be walking the tight rope when he takes over the reins at Jaguar Land Rover next month.

The Frenchman will have the unenviable task of ensuring the British luxury car brand owned by Tata Motors proceeds with plans to make deeper inroads into the growing market for hybrid and electric vehicles, while keeping a strong eye on costs and making profits.

Bollore’s pedigree at Renault, and Faurecia, a global automotive component supplier, could come to play at this juncture with industry watchers vouching for his ability to enforce discipline in pricing, costing and parts procurement strategies.

“He has driven aggressive pricing policies at Renault along with unequivocally focusing on quality assurance and a host of critical areas. He also understood the need for consolidation across companies in times of intensifying global competition to ensure growth," a senior executive at Renault who has earlier worked with Bollore said, requesting anonymity.

JLR, which has set a target of achieving £6 billion in cumulative cost savings by end FY21, plans to launch 20 models this fiscal, including eight plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and 11 mild-hybrid electric vehicles. This is aimed at taking on the might of German rivals BMW Group, Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG, which have announced mega electrification plans across product categories.

The outbreak of covid-19 has delayed some of these plans to some extent, but officials at Tata Motors said Bollore, whose appointment was announced last week, has an explicit mandate to steer the brand into sustained profitability with a focus on clean energy strategy. But as things stand, JLR continues to struggle with fall in demand due to covid and its aim to trim fixed costs.

One of Bollore’s key responsibilities would be to reduce costs across manufacturing, design and even research and development, but analysts maintain that cost rationalization must conform to the larger strategic vision of JLR. “The aim is to bring down the breakeven point of doing business in the luxury car segment while ensuring enough liquidity to address the working capital needs" said a person aware of the discussions at JLR.

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