New XJ, more racing, hthe E-Type reborn and platform sharing with Land Rover
26 March 2008

The new XJ

Show a concept version of the new XJ. The re-bodied aluminium XJ has already been signed off by Ford and work on the early prototypes are already underway. An under-new-management Jaguar should roll out a concept version of the XJ, which was described by one person who saw the car in a market research clinic as ‘space age’. While the XF is a big leap forward, the XJ will cement the idea that Jaguar has finally broken away from 30 years of retro-conservatism.

The E-Type reborn

When Porsche came close to folding in the early 1990s, it showed the Boxster concept at the 1993 Detroit motor show. Rather like Jaguar, Porsche had seen its attempts to modernise (with the 944 and 928) fade badly while having difficulty re-inventing itself as the maker of anything but the 911. Jaguar is in a curiously similar position, which is why it needs to show a concept version of the more affordable roadster that is being planned. It would finally nail the four-decade long inability to replace the E-Type.

New technology

Does Jaguar need a technology partner? With new ownership secured, the problems aren’t all over. Although it can rely on a new generation of V8 engines and probably Ford’s diesels, it will need to find a supply of future Euro6-compliant engines. More importantly, the XF’s steel chassis will need to be replaced in five year’s time. Will a deal with Fiat Auto do the job? Fiat’s boss wants to buy the XF platform for Alfa Romeo, and why not the aluminium XJ and XK chassis for future Maseratis?

Platform sharing is cheaper

If we view Jaguar-Land Rover as a single company, thought needs to be given to the current production situation. There are three factories, Halewood (which builds the Freelander and X-Type) Solihull (Range Rovers, Discovery, Defender) and Castle Bromwich (XJ, XK and XF). Does one of these sites need to go? What could happen in the future if there is a migration onto fewer platforms for the two brands or a switch away from using aluminium?

Race for reputation

Racing can seem an indulgence to the most hardheaded bean counters. And Jaguar’s most recent attempts – in F1 – have been a disaster. But Jaguar has a long history in motorsport and many within the company still see it as a great credibility prop. Perhaps the most sensible approach to competition would be to create an XK GT2 and XK GT3 and enter them against Porsche and Ferrari.

Hilton Hollway

Tata buys Jaguar and Land RoverHistory of TataLand Rover: the futureJaguar: promise unfulfilledLand Rover: the world's most succesful 4x4 makerGeneva Show interview with Ratan TataGo to Chas Hallett's JLR blog

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