Jaguar Cars originally saw the light as the Swallow Sidecar Company in Blackpool in 1922. It moved to Coventry in 1928 and the name changed to SS Cars in 1934, and then became Jaguar in 1945.
The firm was set up by motorcycle enthusiasts William Lyons and William Walmsley. The Jaguar name first appeared on one of the SS lines in 1935. The name was eventually used for the whole company after the Swallow Sidecar was dropped because of a lack of popularity. The new car firm went on to make a splash in the 1950s by releasing a number of stylish and speedy sports cars.
The Swallow Sidecar company moved to Coventry when demand for the Austin Swallow became too great for the factory’s capacity. In 1951, having outgrown the original Coventry site, it moved again to Browns Lane which had been a wartime site. Today, Jaguars are assembled at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham and Halewood in Liverpool.
Jaguar bought the Daimler Motor Company in 1960 from the Birmingham Small Arms Company, and used the name for its saloon cars from the late 1960s.
In 1966 the firm was merged with the British Motor Corporation to form British Motor Holdings.
This then went on to merge with Leyland – the owners of Rover and Standard Triumph – to form the Midlands-based British Leyland Motor Corporation two years later.
After years of chaotic industrial relations and poor performance, the firm was effectively nationalised in 1975 and became British Leyland Ltd. Jaguar finally became a separate company again in 1984 when it was taken out of the group and floated individually.
It was bought by Ford in 1990 and taken off the stock exchange early that year. In 1999 it became part of the American motor giant’s Premier Automotive Group along with fellow Midland marque Aston Martin. In 2000 the group was joined by Land Rover.
The company holds Royal Warrants from both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.
Since the Ford purchase, Jaguar has been closely associated with Land Rover, sharing sales and distribution networks in many countries, as well as components and production facilities.
Land Rovers were first produced commercially by Coventry-based Rover. The firm later became part of Leyland Motors and then British Leyland. After BL collapsed and was nationalised, Land Rover was split from Rover made into a new commercial vehicle division called the Land Rover Leyland Group.
It has been linked to the British armed forces since the beginning of the company’s history, with Land Rovers modified for a number of military purposes.
Explore th events of the last year for Jaguar Land Rover with our interactive timeline.