Jaguar’s Product Planning Department Keeps Busy
By Chris Haak
While Jaguar is still owned by Ford, its sale to Tata is literally just a matter of time as final negotiations on the sale (along with that of Land Rover) wind down. However, the folks in Coventry aren’t sitting still, and in fact are rumored to have some intriguing ideas up their sleeves. Whether Tata wants to fund all of the projects is another question, but supposedly Jaguar management has presented business cases for a few of these scenarios to Tata.
XJ Sedan Replacement
Jaguar’s current flagship XJ sedan is a modern vehicle constrained by styling that looks entirely too similar to a 33 year old Jaguar. The company is well aware of this issue, and in fact, this is the reason that the new XF sedan has finally shed the “new car under old skin” styling directive at Jaguar. It’s hard to say exactly what this car will look like, but insiders have said to expect it to be wider and lower than the current XJ, and an even more revolutionary departure from the current XJ than the XF was from the S-Type. The car is scheduled to be unveiled in spring 2011.
Jaguar has presented plans to turn its new and thus far well-received XF sedan into a two door coupe. A convertible variant was ruled out, but the XF coupe, if approved, would likely also have a lowered roofline to cut an even sleeker silhouette. This model would probably be relatively easy to create, but would it look as good as an XK coupe? Probably not. Plus, see the next paragraph.
If they might turn a sedan into a coupe, why not turn a coupe into a sedan? Reports also state that Jaguar has also proposed stretching the XK coupe a few inches and adding rear doors. The XK sedan would probably still not have a very practical rear seat, but it would probably look great, and serve as a worth competitor to the upcoming Aston Martin Rapide four door coupe.
Lastly, Jaguar is also contemplating a reborn F-Type sports car, which would be designed to compete directly with the Porsche 911. The company is apparently undecided as to whether the car would have a lightweight aluminum chassis, or the more conventional steel, but regardless, this vehicle apparently has the highest priority among the last three models above, and could really see the light of day. Jaguar showed an F-Type concept at the 2000 Detroit Auto Show, but didn’t produce the car due to falling sales and Ford’s desire not to allow the car to infringe upon Aston Martin’s turf. With Aston Martin out of the picture, and Ford soon to be, it’s no longer a problem.
The Jaguar brand has some awesome potential. I’m glad to see that the stewards of the brand aren’t resting on their laurels with the XK and XF, and instead have a lot of great ideas up their sleeves. It makes one wonder if Ford was the problem with Jaguar, and not Jaguar itself, that caused Jaguar to be such a money pit for Ford over the past several years.
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