Jaguar-Land Rover has a new engineering boss and product delivery enforcer, as it gears up for an unprecedented new model push.
Announced today and effective from 1 August 2013, Dr Wolfgang Ziebart becomes group engineering director, replacing Bob Joyce who moves into the new role of product creation and delivery director. Ziebart worked in R&D at BMW for 23 years, before moving onto key suppliers Continental and semi-conductor maker Infineon.
What does the reshuffle mean for Jaguar-Land Rover?
Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar-Land Rover CEO, told CAR that Ziebart’s appointment would strengthen the company in the field of electronics and electrical engineering, a key development battleground as cars become increasingly autonomous, adopt electrified drivetrains, and require mighty computing power to control ever more complex functions.
‘Wolfgang Ziebart will be in charge of product development and purchasing,’ said Speth. ‘Future vehicles will be differentiated by their electronics; we need the latest guys who will be able to predict what’s needed in three-, five-years and beyond. Wolfgang has experience on both the OEM and supplier side: he is very well connected around the world in the latest technology. It’s a huge gain for the company.’
One of Ziebart’s key enforcers will be Bob Joyce. ‘Bob will own the product creation process from end-to-end,’ Speth explained. ‘He will ensure cross-functional alignment, to ensure we deliver on cost, on time and on quality.’
Ziebart and Joyce have a bulging in-tray. J-LR is pumping billions into product development, some £2.75 billion in this financial year alone. Top of the list is an all-new flexible aluminium and electronic architecture, that will support the next generation of Jaguars and Land Rovers. This will underpin a sleek saloon-cum-coupe beneath the XF, and a crossover 4x4.
‘We have a very ambitious delivery plan,’ Speth told CAR. ‘We need the processes to get focus across [numerous] functions.’
Speth has shuffled his pack in other areas too. Dr Wolfgang Epple leaves his role as programmes director to become director of research and technology. J-LR is investing £100 million in an advanced research facility at the University of Warwick – a critical move to ensure J-LR is at the cutting edge of innovation, Speth told CAR.
So what areas will J-LR focus on? ‘Fuel efficiency, emissions reduction, weight reduction, materials usage, engine technology,’ Speth replied. ‘We have to make sure we get the very latest technology, especially state-of-the-art engines and in the field of autonomous connectivity.’
The reshuffle follows last month’s appointment of Wolfgang Stadler as director of manufacturing, replacing the retiring Paul Cope. An ex-BMW employee, Stadler ran the Dingolfing plant which builds the 5-, 6- and 7-series, and occupied the post of managing director BMW South Africa.