Swallow Sidecar Company was founded in 1922 by two motorcycle enthusiasts,
William Lyons and
William Walmsley. In 1934 Walmsley elected to sell-out and in order to buy the Swallow business (but not the company which was liquidated) Lyons formed
S.S. Cars Limited finding new capital by issuing shares to the public.
On 23 March 1945 the S. S. Cars shareholders in general meeting agreed to change the company's name to Jaguar Cars Limited. Said chairman William Lyons "Unlike S. S. the name Jaguar is distinctive and cannot be connected or confused with any similar foreign name."
Though five years of pent-up demand ensured plenty of buyers production was hampered by shortage of materials, particularly steel, issued to manufacturers until the 1950s by a central planning authority under strict government control. Jaguar sold
Motor Panels, a pressed steel body manufacturing company bought in the late 1930s, to steel and components manufacturer
 and Jaguar bought from
Standard Motor Company the plant where Standard built Jaguar's six-cylinder engines
 From this time Jaguar was entirely dependent for their bodies on external suppliers, in particular then independent
Pressed Steel and in 1966 that carried them into BMC, BMH and British Leyland.
3½-litre, 125 hp
drophead coupé 1940
Jaguar made its name by producing a series of successful eye-catching sports cars, the
Jaguar XK120 (1948–54),
Jaguar XK140 (1954–57),
Jaguar XK150 (1957–61), and
Jaguar E-Type (1961-75), all embodying Lyons' mantra of "value for money".
 The sports cars were successful in international motorsport, a path followed in the 1950s to prove the engineering integrity of the company's products.
Jaguar's sales slogan for years was "Grace, Space, Pace",
 a mantra epitomised by the record sales achieved by the MK VII, IX, Mks I and II saloons and later the XJ6. During the time this slogan was used, but the exact text varied.
The core of Bill Lyons' success following WWII was the
twin-cam straight six engine, conceived pre-war and realised while engineers at the Coventry plant were dividing their time between fire-watching and designing the new power plant. It had a hemispherical cross-flow cylinder head with valves inclined from the vertical; originally at 30 degrees (inlet) and 45 degrees (exhaust) and later standardised to 45 degrees for both inlet and exhaust.
octane ratings were relatively low from 1948 onwards, three piston configuration were offered: domed (high octane), flat (medium octane), and dished (low octane).
The main designer,
William "Bill" Heynes, assisted by
Walter "Wally" Hassan, was determined to develop the Twin
OHC unit. Bill Lyons agreed over misgivings from Hassan. It was risky to take what had previously been considered a racing or low-volume and cantankerous engine needing constant fettling and apply it to reasonable volume production saloon cars.
The subsequent engine (in various versions) was the mainstay powerplant of Jaguar, used in the XK 120, Mk VII Saloon, Mk I and II Saloons and XK 140 and 150. It was also employed in the E Type, itself a development from the race winning and Le Mans conquering C and D Type Sports Racing cars refined as the short-lived XKSS, a road-legal D-Type.
Few engine types have demonstrated such ubiquity and longevity: Jaguar used the Twin OHC XK Engine, as it came to be known, in the Jaguar XJ6 saloon from 1969 through 1992, and employed in a J60 variant as the power plant in such diverse vehicles as the British Army's
Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) family of vehicles, as well as the
Fox armoured reconnaissance vehicle, the
Ferret Scout Car, and the Stonefield four-wheel-drive all-terrain lorry. Properly maintained, the standard production XK Engine would achieve 200,000 miles of useful life.
Two of the proudest moments in Jaguar's long history in motor sport involved winning the
Le Mans 24 hours race, firstly in 1951 and again in 1953. Victory at the 1955 Le Mans was overshadowed by it being the occasion of
the worst motorsport accident in history. Later in the hands of the Scottish racing team Ecurie Ecosse two more wins were added in 1956 and 1957.
In spite of such a performance orientation, it was always Lyons' intention to build the business by producing world-class sporting saloons in larger numbers than the sports car market could support. Jaguar secured financial stability and a reputation for excellence with a series of elegantly styled luxury saloons that included the 3-litre and 3½ litre cars, the Mark VII, VIII, and IX, the compact Mark I and 2, and the XJ6 and XJ12. All were deemed very good values, with comfortable rides, good handling, high performance, and great style.
Combined with the trend-setting XK 120, XK 140, and XK 150 series of sports car, and nonpareil E-Type,Ministry of Supply still allocated raw materials) and the state of metallurgical development of the era.
Jaguar's elan as a prestige motorcar manufacturer had few rivals. The company's post-War achievements are remarkable, considering both the shortages that drove Britain (the
In 1950, Jaguar agreed to lease from the Ministry of Supply the Daimler Shadow 2 factory in
Browns Lane, Allesley, Coventry, which at the time was being used by
The Daimler Company Limited and moved to the new site from Foleshill over the next 12 months.
 Jaguar purchased Daimler – not to be confused with
Daimler AG—in 1960 from
BSA. From the late 1960s, Jaguar used the Daimler marque as a brand name for their most luxurious saloons.
An end to independence
Pressed Steel Company Limited made all Jaguar's (
monocoque) bodies leaving provision and installation of the mechanicals to Jaguar. In mid-1965
British Motor Corporation (BMC), the
Morris combine, bought Pressed Steel.
 Lyons became concerned about the future of Jaguar, partly because of the threat to ongoing supplies of bodies, and partly because of his age and lack of an heir. He therefore accepted BMC's offer to merge with Jaguar to form British Motor (Holdings) Limited.
 At a press conference on 11 July 1965 at the Great Eastern Hotel in London, Lyons and BMC chairman George Harriman announced, "Jaguar Group of companies is to merge with The British Motor Corporation Ltd., as the first step towards the setting up of a joint holding company to be called British Motor (Holdings) Limited". In due course BMC changed its name to
British Motor Holdings
 at the end of 1966.
BMH was pushed by the Government to merge with Leyland Motor Corporation Limited, manufacturer of
Leyland bus and truck,
Triumph and, since 1967,
Rover vehicles. The result was
British Leyland Motor Corporation, a new holding company which appeared in 1968, but the combination was not a success. A combination of poor decision making by the board along with the financial difficulties of, especially, the Austin-Morris division (previously BMC) led to the
Ryder Report and to effective nationalisation in 1975.
Temporary return to independence
Over the next few years it became clear that because of the low regard for many of the group's products insufficient capital could be provided to develop and begin manufacture of new models, including Jaguars, particularly if Jaguar were to remain a part of the group.
Jaguar XJ (X300)
a luxury sedan manufactured by Jaguar Cars between 1994 and 1997
In July 1984, Jaguar was floated off as a separate company on the stock market – one of the
Thatcher government's many
– to create its own track record.
Installed as chairman in 1980,
Sir John Egan is credited for Jaguar's unprecedented prosperity immediately after privatisation. In early 1986 Egan reported he had tackled the main problems that were holding Jaguar back from selling more cars: quality control, lagging delivery schedules, poor productivity. He laid off about one third of the company's roughly 10,000 employees to cut costs.
 Commentators later pointed out he exploited an elderly model range (on which all development costs had been written off) and raised prices. He also intensified the effort to improve Jaguar's quality. In the US the price increases were masked by a favourable exchange rate.
Ford Motor Company era
Ford made offers to Jaguar's US and UK shareholders to buy their shares in November 1989; Jaguar's listing on the
London Stock Exchange was removed on 28 February 1990.
 In 1999 it became part of Ford's new
Premier Automotive Group along with
Volvo Cars and, from 2000,
Land Rover. Under Ford's ownership, Jaguar never made a profit.
Under Ford's ownership Jaguar expanded its range of products with the launch of the
S-Type in 1999 and
X-type in 2001. After Land Rover's May 2000 purchase by Ford, it became closely associated with Jaguar. In many countries they shared a common sales and distribution network (including shared dealerships), and some models shared components, although the only shared production facility was
Halewood Body & Assembly, for the X-Type and the Freelander 2. However operationally the two companies were effectively integrated under a common management structure within Ford's PAG.
On 11 June 2007, Ford announced that it planned to sell Jaguar, along with Land Rover and retained the services of
Morgan Stanley and
HSBC to advise it on the deal. The sale was initially expected to be announced by September 2007, but was delayed until March 2008. Private equity firms such as
Alchemy Partners of the UK,
Ripplewood Holdings (which hired former Ford Europe executive
Sir Nick Scheele to head its bid),
Cerberus Capital Management and
One Equity Partners (owned by
JP Morgan Chase and managed by former Ford executive
Jacques Nasser) of the US,
Tata Motors of India and a consortium comprising
Mahindra and Mahindra (an automobile manufacturer from India) and
Apollo Management all initially expressed interest in purchasing the
marques from the Ford Motor Company.
Before the sale was announced,
Anthony Bamford, chairman of British excavator manufacturer
JCB had expressed interest in purchasing the company in August 2006,
 but backed out upon learning that the sale would also involve Land Rover, which he did not wish to buy. On Christmas Eve of 2007, Mahindra and Mahindra backed out of the race for both brands, citing complexities in the deal.
Tata Motors era
On 1 January 2008, Ford formally declared that Tata was the preferred bidder.
Tata Motors also received endorsements from the Transport And General Worker's Union (TGWU)-
combine as well as from Ford.
 According to the rules of the auction process, this announcement would not automatically disqualify any other potential suitor. However, Ford (as well as representatives of
Unite) would now be able to enter into detailed discussions with Tata concerning issues ranging from labour concerns (job security and pensions), technology (IT systems and engine production) and intellectual property,
 as well as the final sale price.
 Ford would also open its books for a more comprehensive
due diligence by Tata.
 On 18 March 2008,
Reuters reported that American bankers
JP Morgan would finance the deal with a USD 3
On 26 March 2008, Ford announced that it had agreed to sell its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors of India, and that they expected to complete the sale by the end of the second quarter of 2008.
 Included in the deal were the rights to three other British brands, Jaguar's own
Daimler, as well as two dormant brands
 On 2 June 2008, the sale to Tata was completed at a cost of £1.7 billion.
On 18 January 2008, Tata Motors, a part of the
Tata Group, established
Jaguar Land Rover Limited as a British-registered and wholly owned subsidiary. The company was to be used as a holding company for the acquisition of the two businesses from Ford - Jaguar Cars Limited and Land Rover. That acquisition was completed on 2 June 2008.
 On 1 January 2013, the group, which had been operating as two separate companies (Jaguar Cars Limited and Land Rover), although on an integrated basis, underwent a fundamental restructuring. The parent company was renamed to Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC, Jaguar Cars Limited was renamed to Jaguar Land Rover Limited and the assets (excluding certain Chinese interests) of Land Rover were transferred to it. The consequence was that Jaguar Land Rover Limited became responsible in the UK for the design, manufacture and marketing of both Jaguar and Land Rover products.
From 1922 the Swallow Sidecar company (SSC) was located in
Blackpool. The company moved to Holbrook Lane,
Coventry in 1928 when demand for the
Austin Swallow became too great for the factory's capacity.
 The company started using the Jaguar name whilst based in Holbrooks Lane.
In 1951, having outgrown the original Coventry site they moved to Browns Lane, which had been a wartime "shadow factory" run by
The Daimler Company. The
Browns Lane plant ceased trim and final operations in 2005, the X350
XJ having already moved to Castle Bromwich two years prior, with the
S-Type following. The Browns Lane plant, which continued producing veneer trim for a while and housed the Jaguar Daimler Heritage centre until it moved to the
British Motor Museum site, has now been demolished and is being redeveloped.
Radford plant, originally a Daimler bus plant but later a Jaguar engine and axle plant, was closed by Ford in 1997 when it moved all Jaguar engine production to its
In 2000, Ford turned its
Halewood plant over to Jaguar following the discontinuation of its long running
Escort that year for Jaguar's new
X-Type model. It was later joined by the second-generation Land Rover Freelander 2, from 2007. Jaguars ceased being produced at Halewood in 2009 following the discontinuation of the X-Type; Halewood now becoming a Land Rover-only plant.
Jaguar Land Rover was formed following the merger of Jaguar Cars with Land Rover, facilities have been shared across several JLR sites, most of which are used for work on both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands.