LUXURY car maker Jaguar today announced the end of one era and hoped for the dawn another as it slammed the brakes on production of diesel and petrol cars.
The marque is dropping the internal combustion engine from its entire range by 2025, marking a turning point in its 100-year history.
The firm began building motorcycle sidecars in 1922 and grew to become an emblem of the golden age of British motor manufacture.
Its high-performance E-Type was an icon of 60s motoring while more graceful models were driven by Prime Ministers, royalty and television detective Inspector Morse.
Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India’s Tata Motors, today said it will only offer electric-powered vehicles from 2025.
The company plans to spend about £2.5bn a year on new technology, consolidating its production facilities, which are spread across the Midlands, with car production moving from JLR's Castle Bromwich factory to Solihull.
But chief executive Thierry Bollore said all three of its British plants will be kept open with the firm "exploring opportunities to repurpose" the Castle Bromwich plant, leading to speculation it could be used for battery production.
Meanwhile Land Rover will produce its first all-electric model in 2024, as it phases out internal combustion engines.
Bollore said: "We have all the ingredients to define what modern luxury means in the world of tomorrow. Our vision is clear - to become the creator of the world's most desirable luxury vehicles and services for the most discerning of customers."
Jaguar intends to will undergo “a renaissance to emerge as a pure-electric luxury brand with a dramatically beautiful new portfolio of emotionally engaging designs and pioneering next-generation technologies”.
But the much-anticipated electric XJ has been ditched as it “does not fit with our vision for a reimaged Jaguar brand.”
Carmakers are under pressure to meet stringent carbon emission demands in Europe and China, as well as customer demand for high-performance electric cars with a luxury or performance feel.
The UK plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
Bentley Motors, owned by Germany’s Volkswagen, said in November its range will be fully electric by 2030, and last month General Motors said it aimed to have a zero-emission line-up by 2035.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the announcement was "a huge step for British car manufacturing".
JLR suffered a 24% decrease in the number of cars sold last year, amid the coronavirus
Jim Holder, editorial director of magazine Autocar, said Jaguar's move to go all-electric "in the vein of Tesla
" and aim for the luxury end of the market will be "incredibly difficult".
He went on: "If it can pull it off then the prospect of making higher margins on fewer sales should be enough to sustain a brand that in its current form is ailing to the point of struggling to justify its existence.
"The fact that a significant proportion of its sales last year were electrified shows that the customer base is at least alert to the possibilities of these new technologies."
Sepi Arani., of comparison site Carwow, said: “Most manufacturers opting to create ‘all electric’ model families vs that of entirely dedicated brands as part of wider groups. This is a bold move for Jaguar, but one that we no doubt will prove fruitful as consumers look to reposition brand loyalty against the vastly changing backdrop of continued innovation.”