JUN 13th 2014

Extra special Jags? Where do we sign?

Jaguar Land Rover has launched a new Special Operations division to cater for the increasing demands of its most discerning (richest) customers. The division will develop high-end versions of existing models, bespoke special editions, heritage products and branded goods.

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John Edwards

The new division will be headed up by John Edwards, formerly Global Brand Director of Land Rover. “I used to think I had a great job,” Edwards explained at the company’s launch, “but now I’m convinced I have the best job in the business.”

Edwards was quick point out that, unlike BMW M-Power or Mercedes AMG, Special Operations will not focus solely on high performance cars. “Our remit is much broader,” he explained. “It’s a reflection of the scope of the vehicles we produce. A Range Rover Sport or F-Type customer might want more performance, but a Range Rover owner might desire more luxury or a Defender driver even more off-road potential.”

The division is determined to exploit both Jaguar and Land Rover’s rich heritage. It has already announced a limited run of six lightweight E-Types, which will be exact replicas of the originals built from 1963 to ’64. All have already been sold, despite a pricetag expected to be in the region of £1m. Owners of older Jaguars and Land Rovers will also be able to bring their cars to Special Operations for servicing and restoration work.

Special edition versions of current production models are also in the offing with the first car likely to be a development of the F-Type based Project 7 roadster that debuted at the Festival of Speed last year. These cars will be badged – somewhat confusingly – as SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) editions. Jaguar’s R-S and R-S GT models will be badged SVO in the future, although the ‘R’ badge will remain part of the mainstream line-up.

These new models will be developed under the guidance of Paul Newsome, who’s been recruited from Williams Advanced Engineering and was the project chief for the still-born Jaguar C-X75 supercar. He will be part of a team of around 500 Special Operations employees, who will operate out of a new technical centre.

According to Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Ralf Speth, Special Operations is all about, “enhancing and personalising our relationship with our enthusiastic customers.” It’s a hugely exciting concept for all fans of the brands and we expect a further announcement at this year’s Festival of Speed. Stay tuned.

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