JCB on the move

The JCB construction machinery company is reported to have ambitions beyond the world of diggers and its chairman Sir Anthony Bamford has indicated that it might be interested in buying the Jaguar brand from the Ford Motor Company, if Ford was willing to sell Jaguar on its own.

Bamford's remarks came after JCB set a new land speed record for diesel cars at Bonneville salt flats in Utah, where Wing Commander Andy Green, the man who set the outright world land speed record of 763.035mph with Thrust SSC in the Black Rock Desert in October1997, recorded a two-run average speed of 328.767mph on Tuesday and then upped the record to 350.092 mph on Wednesday.

JCB remains a family-owned business but it is incredibly successful, emplying 6,300 people around the world in 17 factories. The company made 45,000 machines last year, had sales of $2.5bn and made a profit of $195m. The company has no history in automobiles but J C Bamford (Excavators) Ltd dates back to 1945 when Sir Anthony's father Joseph Bamford set up the business. It has enjoyed success in construction equipment but also in tractors.

Making the jump from tractors to sports cars may not sound very likely but one must not forget that Ferruccio Lamborghini began his career as a tractor manufacturer before setting up Automobili Lamborghini.

Bamford has a talent for unusual forms of publicity, establishing the JCB Dancing Digger display team to show the versatility of the products.

Bamford says that Jaguar would need to be downsized and believes that the firm should concentrate on its higher performance models, but he believes that the company has a long-term future, despite its losses and is interested in doing a deal.

And while it may be rather premature to make such predictions, one can imagine that JCB Jaguar would be a company with sporting intentions.

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