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About JaguarJaguars are cars that are like no other. The brand has been linked with high end performance and elegant, sophisticated design for decades and has continuously met and exceeded expectations within the industry for quality, style, and luxury. While everyone knows what Jaguar currently "is," few people know how this titanic company got so big in the first place. The history of Jaguar is a long one, but understanding the road the company's traveled forward on and the accomplishments they've made throughout the past century is a great way to understand just why it is they're so successful. Let's take a closer look at the company's birth and how it's managed to survive for so long.
1922 – The Swallow Sidecar Company
Jaguar wasn't born to make cars. The company was originally founded back in 1922 with the purpose of making sidecars for motorcycles before going on to develop passenger cars some years later. In fact, the name "Jaguar" wasn't even the original name of the company until a good twenty years since after its creation. Williams Lyons and William Walmsley founded the company over a shared love of motorcycles. They were enthusiastic motorcyclists when they started, but their true destiny unveiled itself about a decade later, in the '30s, with the creation of their first car.
1935 – The First Jaguar
The SS (Swallow Sidecar) Jaguar was created in 1935, a two and a half litre car with corresponding sports models, the SS 90 and SS 100. They were met with some great success and continued to improve up steadily as the debut models of a young car manufacturing company up until World War 2.
1945 – Adapting to History
War can lead to some tough economic times. As cash was short during this era of history, Jaguar had to adapt. They had to sell their plant to make it through. In addition to that, the initials SS fell quickly out of favor following the war, for obvious reasons, so the company was renamed after the Swallow Sidecar Company's first model, the Jaguar. Tough economic times as they were, the company managed to find a fair bit of success immediately following the war in making well rounded luxury cars, and thing did get better moving into the next decade.
1950 – Reputation Building on Le Mans
During the late 40s and into the 50s, the company really started to catch the public's eye after producing a number of stylish look sports cars, such as the XK120, XK140, and XK150. This seemed to embody the Jaguar brand for decades to come: giving its customers a real, tangible value for the money they paid. The real proof, however, was in their performance. They won the Le Mans 24-hour race not just once, but several times throughout the 1950s in '51, '53, '55, '56, and '57. This was proof that Jaguars weren't just luxury cars; they were also high performance options for serious competitors.
1968 – Acquisition
Due in part to the British Motor Corporation (BMC) purchasing of Pressed Steel Company Limited, which was the sole manufacturer of Jaguar bodies, and also the fact the Lyons was concerned about the future of the company due to having no heir in place, the company was merged with BMC to form British Motor Holdings Limited. This acquisition kept Jaguar alive but did not lead to all too much overall success until what happened in the 80s.
1984 – Independence
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was busy privatizing many companies during the '80s, which caused Jaguar to re-obtain the its independence. This resulted in soaring popularity, which many people believe is due to the CEO of the company at the time, Sir John Egan. This era for Jaguar was marked by great success in sales and reputation and eventually led to Ford making offers to the shareholders to buy their shares in 1989, which lead to the company being taken off the London Stock Exchange the following year.
2000 – Reigning In The New Century With Ford
Since their acquisition, Ford closely tied Jaguar and Land Rover together and had Jaguar greatly expand its overall selection of cars. Things were going well, but this time with Ford was relatively short-lived, as the company soon announced that it was making plans to sell Jaguar along with Land Rover.
2008 – Tata Motors
After some careful deliberation, Ford finally announced that a sales agreement had been reached with the company Tata Motors in 2008, an India based automotive company that is a leader in truck and bus manufacturing. Soon after purchasing the two companies, they officially merged the two into a single, unified company that led to some stunning success as the Jaguar Land Rover Company. Ever since then, sales figures have been steadily increasing as the company moves forward into the future.
Overall, the road that Jaguar set out upon almost a century ago has had a lot of twists and turns but that has not stopped the core of the company from maintaining their position in the automobile industry as a world renowned provider of luxurious and comfortable high end vehicles.