design case: Jaguar land Rover

In 2002 the Ford Motor Company united the Jaguar Cars and Land Rover businesses to create a single entity. Jaguar Land Rover has existed in its current form since 2008 as part of Tata Motors.

It operates six facilities for manufacturing and assembling in the UK and India. In the year ending 31 March 2012, it sold over 300,000 units, an increase of over 25% compared to the previous year. Sales are almost equally split between continental Europe, United Kingdom, North America and China, with China soon to become the dominant market.

After recent successful new product launches, the organisational structure was modified to put the Design Director at the same level as the Engineering Director. Our research focused particularly on Land Rover.

Thanks to commercial successes such as the Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar Land Rover has increasingly invested in design and the design team has been given greater prominence, so much so that design is now embedded in the company culture.

The Director of Business Transformation says: “I think there is a general understanding that design is of the utmost importance in terms of being able to compete in our marketplace it’s seen as a differentiator."

Design reflects the brand Land Rover has a clear brand positioning that combines design and capability. Product development is very formalised, with a clear design language laid down in a ‘Design Bible’ that defines what makes a Land Rover, while still leaving room for it to adapt to a changing world. A new vehicle must have its own distinct personality, but be recognisably part of the family too. Therefore, design has to play a double role: to spur and enable innovation, while keeping true to the brand values.

“Even though they’ve got their own personalities, there’s certain design cues that are immediately apparent across those Land Rovers. We’re not going to produce cars that aren’t true to the brand. So we have a brand position, if you like a brand DNA. Land Rover makes SUVs, sports utility vehicles. Jaguar makes sports cars, sporting sedans: that’s the DNA. That’s the heart of it.”

Importantly, design was leading to the creation of a new market space for the company.

The Director of Business Transformation explains, “We identified a white space opportunity - the compact, premium SUV segment. We used design as a major factor for that product to make sure it was basically creating a segment."

Throughout the development process, technical adjustments and customer feedback informed the process, but design retained a leading role.

As the Director of Business Transformation explains, “As you go through the detailed feedback from customers and the detailed technical engineering of the product you make adjustments accordingly, but the design led the market research rather than the other way round”.