“Welcome to the fast lane, Jaguar Land Rover” is the last line of a recent article on TechCrunch. In case you’re unfamiliar with TechCrunch (TC), it’s owned by AOL and is regarded by many as the leading online publisher of technology news. And we’re not talking about the more traditional manufacturing technology, like that used to make Jaguars and Land Rovers. We’re talking digital technology, the stuff behind mobile apps and wearable gizmos that tell you things like how much margarine’s in the fridge.
Clearly TC wouldn’t be welcoming Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) to the typical automotive fast lane. JLR’s been there since the beginning. To understand the fast lane that TC’s is talking about, it helps to take a quick look at the current state of affairs in the world of automobile manufacturing.
In a nutshell, if there is a manufacturer today that does nothing but build cars, they are seriously behind the competition and falling further behind by the day. Instead, if you think of cars as much as mobile devices (like an iPad) as transportation devices, and understand why Apple, MicroSoft, Google and other leading technology companies are either in major partnerships with automotive manufacturers or spending buckets of cash on independent automotive development, then you have a clearer idea of automobile manufacturing today.
The TechCrunch article announced the Jaguar and Rover’s launch of InMotion, a wholly-owned “innovation” company whose mandate is building mobility apps and technology applications that, in some cases, may one day be spun off into their own entities.
The JLR Car Sharing App?
In the short-term, InMotion’s efforts will happen within JLR, and be initially focused on “emerging travel and transport issues which need solving”.
More specifically, according to MotorAuthority.com, Jaguar reps indicated that InMotion will create an app and an “on-demand vehicle infrastructure”.
While that statement falls short of actually saying “car sharing”, in corporate-speak, it can hardly mean anything else.
The speculation is that the JLR “on-demand vehicle infrastructure” will take a similar shape as BMW’s ReachNow program, which is already being rolled out in the U.S.. ReachNow is a car-sharing program that gives customers the option to have a vehicle delivered directly to them, instead of going to a central location to pick one up.
If anything proves that the world of automobile manufacturing is a far cry from what it was even just 10 years ago, it is that JLR is building a car-sharing app.