Jaguar Cars Limited is a British manufacturer of high-performance and luxury automobiles based in Whitley, Coventry, United Kingdom, now operated as part of the Jaguar Land Rover business. The company was founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company in Blackpool in 1922, changing to SS Cars Ltd in 1934 in Coventry, and finally becoming Jaguar Cars Ltd in 1945. Following several subsequent changes of ownership since the 1960s, the company is now owned by India's Tata Motors, who acquired it from Ford on 2 June 2008.
Founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, by two motorcycle enthusiasts, William Lyons and William Walmsley, the SS Jaguar name first appeared on a 2.5 litre sedan in 1935. The Jaguar name was given to the entire company in 1945 when the SS was dropped due to lack of popularity from WWII.
Jaguar made its name in the 1950s with a series of elegantly-styled sports cars and luxury sedans. The company bought the Daimler Motor Company (not to be confused with Daimler-Benz), in 1960 from Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA). From the late 1960s, Daimler was used as a brand name for Jaguar's most luxurious sedans.
Jaguar merged with the British Motor Corporation (BMC), the Austin-Morris combine, to form British Motor Holdings (BMH) in 1966. After merging with Leyland, which had already taken over Rover and Standard Triumph, the resultant company then became the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC) in 1968. Financial difficulties and the publication of the Ryder Report led to effective nationalisation in 1975 and the company became British Leyland Ltd (later simply BL plc).
In the 1970s the Jaguar and Daimler marques formed part of BL's specialist car division or Jaguar Rover Triumph Ltd until a restructure in the early 1980s saw most of the BL volume car manufacturing side becoming the Austin Rover Group within which Jaguar was not included.
In 1984, Jaguar was floated off as a separate company on the stock market one of the Thatcher government's many privatisations.
The Ford Motor Company made an offer to purchase the company in September 1989 which was accepted at an Extraordinary General Meeting in January 1990 and Jaguar was removed from the London Stock Exchange listings on 28 February 1990. In 1999 it became part of Ford's new Premier Automotive Group along with Aston Martin, Volvo Cars and, from 2000, Land Rover; Aston Martin was subsequently sold off in 2007. Between Ford purchasing Jaguar in 1989 and selling it in 2008 it did not earn any profit for the Dearborn-based auto manufacturer.
Since Land Rover's 2002 purchase by Ford, it has been closely associated with Jaguar. In many countries they share a common sales and distribution network (including shared dealerships), and some models now share components, although the only shared production facility is Halewood, for the X-Type and the Freelander 2. However operationally the two companies were effectively integrated under a common management structure within Ford's PAG.
On 11 June 2007, Ford announced that it planned to sell Jaguar, along with Land Rover and retained the services of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and HSBC to advise it on the deal. The sale was initially expected to be announced by September 2007, but was delayed until March 2008. Private equity firms such as Alchemy Partners of the UK, TPG Capital, Ripplewood Holdings (which hired former Ford Europe executive Sir Nick Scheele to head its bid), Cerberus Capital Management and One Equity Partners (owned by JP Morgan Chase and managed by former Ford executive Jacques Nasser) of the US, Tata Motors of India and a consortium comprising Mahindra and Mahindra (an auto manufacturer from India) and Apollo Management all initially expressed interest in purchasing the marques from the Ford Motor Company.
Before the sale was announced, Anthony Bamford, chairman of British excavators manufacturer JCB had expressed interest in purchasing the company in August 2006, but backed out when told the sale would also involve Land Rover, which he did not wish to buy. On Christmas Eve of 2007, Mahindra and Mahindra backed out of the race for both brands, citing complexities in the deal.
On 1 January 2008, Ford made a formal announcement which declared Tata as the preferred bidder. Tata Motors also received endorsements from the Transport And General Worker's Union (TGWU)-Amicus combine as well as from Ford. According to the rules of the auction process, this announcement would not automatically disqualify any other potential suitor. However, Ford (as well as representatives of Unite) would now be able to enter into more focused and detailed discussions with Tata to iron out issues ranging from labour concerns (job security and pensions), technology (IT systems and engine production) and intellectual property, as well as the final sale price. Ford would also open its books for a more comprehensive due diligence by Tata. On 18 March 2008, Reuters reported that American bankers Citigroup and JP Morgan shall be underwriting a loan of USD 3 billion in order to finance the deal.
On 26 March 2008, Ford announced that it had agreed to sell its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors of India, and that the sale was expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2008. Included in the deal were the rights to three other British brands, Jaguar's own Daimler, as well as two dormant brands Lanchester and Rover. On 2 June 2008 the sale to Tata was completed by both parties