Originally called the Swallow Side Car Company, Jaguar Cars was founded in 1922 and became famous for its luxury and sports cars. In 1990, Jaguar was taken over by Ford and is now a wholly owned subsidiary. At the time of the Ford takeover, Jaguar’s quality performance was something of a paradox. Aesthetically and in terms of on-the-road performance the cars were often highly regarded, especially by a hard core of enthusiasts. Yet even they could not ignore Jaguar’s reputation for making cars which were, in comparison to its rivals, of exceptionally poor reliability. Plagued by under-investment and a conservative technical-led, rather than customer-led, culture, the company’s old plants were struggling to achieve even acceptable levels of conformance quality. At this time, the JD Power survey of customer satisfaction of cars imported to the US ranked only one car (the Yugo) lower than Jaguar. All this changed through the 1990s. The company invested heavily in training, especially in quality techniques such as statistical process control (see Chapter 17). Piecework was abolished, as was ‘clocking in’ and a general productivity bonus introduced which encouraged flexible working. Other shop floor initiatives included the introduction of multiskilled teams, total productive maintenance (see Chapter 19), continuous improvement teams (see Chapter 18) and benchmarking against the best in the business (see Chapter 18). The success of this quality improvement programme was dramatic. It encouraged Ford to invest in new Jaguar models and also had a significant impact on customer satisfaction. The same surveys which once put Jaguar at the bottom of the league now rank it in the very top group of luxury car makers.
Jaguar regains its reputation
1.What does ‘quality’ mean for a motor vehicle manufacturer such as Jaguar?
This box highlights how Jaguar have always been regarded as excellent at...