Title: Chief program engineer, Jaguar X-type
Previous title: Chief launch engineer, Jaguar
Colin Tivey's opportunity of a lifetime came at 3: 30pm June 13, 1997. Jac Nasser, then chief of Ford's global automotive operations, had challenged Jaguar product developers to come up with more new vehicles. That day, Nick Barter, Jaguar product chief, relayed Nasser's challenge to 20 top engineers at Jaguar's development center in Whitley, England.
Barter gave engineers 30 days to come up with a plan. At the core of that plan was a small Jaguar sedan conceived to compete with BMW 3 series and Mercedes-Benz C-class. In the meeting, Tivey got so excited, he couldn't wait to talk to Barter privately.
'I beat him back to his own office and said, 1/8I want the job.' By Monday morning I had the job and by Monday lunchtime it was a 10-day study not a 30-day study,' says Tivey, chief program engineer for X-type.
Program approval was in January 1999. 'It was actually 23 to 24 months from program approval to job one, which is pretty quick by any standards. And on that [starting] date we had nothing but a blank sheet of paper. No concept. We didn't even understand the sector.'
How much Jaguar learned about the sector will become evident once X-type goes on sale this summer. It's unlike others Jaguar has competed in, Tivey says.
Unlike Jaguar XJ owners, who might have several other vehicles, the potential X-type buyer likely has only one car. So Tivey and his team acquainted themselves with a kind of customer Jaguar has never dealt with before.
Jaguar plans to sell about 100,000 X-types a year. That's more cars than Jaguar has ever sold in a year, all models combined. X-type is leading Jaguar's transformation from a niche manufacturer to a full-line volume luxury brand.
From the start, X-type was different than other Jaguar programs. Jaguar staff and supplier engineers worked together at a separate building at Whitley dubbed Tivey Towers by Nick Scheele, then Jaguar chairman, now head of Ford of Europe.
Developers formed module teams with key suppliers, who played a larger role than in any previous Jaguar program. In some cases, suppliers even led the module teams: Lear for seats and Visteon for the instrument panel, for example.
'Why wouldn't they?' asks Tivey. As a result, Jaguar engineered X-type in record time.
Tivey likes the broad authority Jaguar gives engineers. 'Engineers have cradle-to-grave responsibility,' he says. 'So an engineer is responsible for the product from the minute he starts design work, right to production and beyond into the warranty period. The engineers are responsible for eradicating any issues customers may have.'
In his previous job as a Jaguar launch engineer, Tivey's primary job was to get the XJ8 into manufacturing. Being chief program engineer on X-type lent a new perspective.
'When you're there at the start of a program, decisions you make right upfront are far more critical and difficult. You need to be sure you look at every alternative, every possibility before you [act]. It's more intangible, more strategic.'
Tivey is a personable man who likes playing golf and gardening when he is not working. He and his wife live in Flecknoe in Warwickshire, England, with an Old English sheepdog. But X-type has not given him much time for being outdoors. His golf handicap remains stubbornly at 28.
'I'm not getting out there enough,' he jokes.
Tivey was born in South Shields in England's County Durham, at the mouth of the Tyne River. He started his career working on high-speed trains at British Rail in Derby.
He joined Ford's engineering center in Denton, England in 1978 and moved to Jaguar in 1983, where he worked in component testing before moving into project management. He was chief program engineer for XJ6 and XK8 .
He was working on the S-type launch until 3: 30pm on June 13, 1997, when the opportunity of a lifetime came his way.