Pressure from environmentalists and rising fuel prices could force Jaguar to introduce a smaller-capacity turbodiesel version of the new XF saloon, it has emerged.The bulk of sales of the XF's competitor cars in the UK, the BMW 5-series and Audi A6, are of 2.0-litre diesel models; Jaguar has launched with one, V6 diesel engine in the XF range, and doesn’t have an alternative to these low C02 models.“We will just have to keep an eye on where the market goes, and if customers start demanding it, we will have to respond,” said Mick Mohan, Jaguar’s product development chief.The decision will also depend on how Jaguar sees its future brand image. It may prefer to limit sales and concentrate on selling fewer, but more profitable bigger-engined versions.
The fleet-friendly XF
The XF already has a 204bhp 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel engine, a competitor for the BMW 525d and Audi A6 2.7TDi. Its 37mpg and 199g/km C02 are typical for the engine size, but a long way off the company-car friendly 140g/km of the 520d and 166g/km of the Audi 2.0 TDi. Jag’s engineers are understood to have several designs for all-new small capacity diesel engines on the drawing board, but right now they are not actively developing them. Doing so would incur considerable cost for Jaguar, are there are already smaller diesel engines it could draft in for the job.Jaguar is likely to look into the Ford parts bin for a usable engine, assuming it negotiates a future supply contract once its imminent sell-off, most likely to Tata Motors, is completed. Options include boosting the power of the 130bhp 2.0-litre Mondeo TDCi engine, or using the 152bhp 2.2-litre X-type diesel's engine, although the latter is a Peugeot co-developed unit, which may complicate the chance of securing long-term supply.Despite lacking a four-cylinder diesel, the XF is expected to match the best sales of the outgoing S-type, which hit levels between 10- and 12,000 units per year, according to managing director Geoff Cousins. That will come as very welcome for Jaguar, which last year allowed overall UK sales to drop 24 per cent to just 17,800 units."Only about 30 per cent of our XF sales will be to fleets," he says.” If we had a small capacity diesel we could do more business with them.”