Originally starting out in Blackpool, England, as the Swallow Sidecar Company back in 1922, Jaguar began by producing motorcycle side cars. When they decided to change their focus to automobile production, their name was also changed to SS Cars Ltd. in 1933. At the close of World War II, SS Cars once again changed their name, this time to Jaguar, so as not to be associated with the paramilitary Nazi organization that bore the same initials.
The first vehicle to carry the Jaguar name was the SS Jaguar 100, released in 1935. The luxury sedan, the Mark V, was the first model produced after the war in 1948. It was soon followed by the sports car that was the fastest production automobile of its day. With its name indicating its top speed, it was called the XK 120. It was a major contributor in helping Jaguar establish a strong presence in the sports car market.
Jaguar had begun exporting luxury vehicles to the United States in the 1950’s. The Mark VII Saloon was created just for the American market. It was a big hit when it was introduced in 1951, and then in 1956, the car took the prize at the Monte Carlo Rally. The XJ12 was the second Jaguar to be crowned the fastest production sedan of its day.
By 1980’s, Jaguar's cars were getting a reputation for questionable reliability, with electrical problems being the main cause. Without much capital Jaguar decided to pursue a partnership which ultimately became a complete buyout by Ford in 1990. Introduction of the lower priced X-Type proved to be a liability, and sales plummeted. Ford decided to cut their losses and sold Jaguar to Tata, an Indian manufacturer in 2008.