New owner’s five year model plan includes new XE sports car and LRX
3 April 2008

Tata’s purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover will lead to a host of new models from both brands over the next five years. Soon after Tata Motors completed its £1.2 billion deal to take control of the two British brands last week, chairman Ratan Tata confirmed his intention to back a five-year investment plan to build and develop new Jaguars and Land Rovers in the UK.“We have enormous respect for the two brands,” said Tata, “and will endeavour to preserve and build on their heritage and competitiveness, keeping their identities intact. We aim to support their growth.” Projects that had previously been mooted at loss-making Jaguar have been given the go-ahead for development from Tata, according to sources at the company. A two-seat, £40k sports car called the XE is perhaps the most exciting prospect. Jaguar has wanted a new-age ‘F-type’ since 2000 and Ratan Tata appears to have given the project his full backing. The sports car — codenamed Project X700 — is currently in the design and planning stages and will be developed for a 2012 launch. It’s not yet clear whether the XE will be based on the XF or the XK platform. Meanwhile, Land Rover is focusing on developing the LRX for 2011. One of Tata’s first major decisions is to rubber-stamp an expansion at the Halewood plant on Merseyside, which will allow the factory to double its production capacity to 210,000 units by 2012. The LRX will be built here. The only question is whether the chic small SUV will be called LRX, LR4 or LR1; the latter title would fit in better with Land Rover’s US branding.We know that a five-year deal is in place for Jaguar and Land Rover models to use Ford engines, with Tata indicating that this will be a longer-term commitment. Tata has also stated that it will keep British plants and job levels at both manufacturers safe until 2012. However, it is believed that Tata/Land Rover has a deal in place with the Indian army to build thousands of Defenders for military use. This could see production of the classic Land Rover switching to a new hub near Delhi in order to satisfy extra demand.Tata’s billionaire boss is 71 years old and is expected to retire at 75. That means that he could step down from his role just before Tata’s five-year engine deal with Ford ends, along with its 2012 commitment to British workers. Such a possibility poses as yet unanswered questions about the brands’ longer-term futures in the UK. However, it is worth remembering that Ratan Tata sits on the Fiat board, so there is potential for Jaguar to develop new technology-sharing and even manufacturing relationships with Alfa and Maserati.

Will Powell/Julian Rendel

Read the full story in 2 April Autocar magazine

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Comments
8

3 April 2008

The XF coupes delicious. How easy it is for Tata to improve Jaguars sales prospects. Makes you wonder if you were a Ford shareholder seeing your company investing $6bn and selling out for $1.2bn if your companies run from a selection of kids with the lowest IQ from kindergarten class!!

Has Alistair 'I'm- not-anti-car' Darlings £40M of British taxpayers moneys for an Indian electricity vehicle reached the bank account yet?

3 April 2008

Mr. Tata sits on the Fiat board - So there is a chance of tech and platform sharing with Fiat. Using the Maserati Quattroporte or GranTourismo chassis for a large 4 seat coupe. That'll be great. A large 4 door jaguar coupe. Looking forward to the new Jags!

3 April 2008

[quote JJBoxster]The XF coupe's delicious.[/quote]

Too right. The XF concept with the similar front-end looked so, so much better than the final production version. I guess there must have been good economic or technical reasons for changing it, it certainly wasn't a stylistic improvement!

3 April 2008

[quote NiallOswald]The XF concept with the similar front-end looked so, so much better than the final production version. I guess there must have been good economic or technical reasons for changing it[/quote]

You're right, I believe much of the front end design of the XF would have been defined by pedestrian impact regulations, along with crash regulations and the fact that some of the platform comes from the S-type (for cost reasons). These problems could have been overcome, but as with all things in life it would have taken money.

I think the boxter rivalling XE is long, long, long overdue. The Boxter came in back in 1996 and porsche have been making money hand over fist from their little roadster ever since. For the first 9 years of production it didn't have a single rival in the premium sports-roadster segment (no, the Z3 and SLK don't count), it was one of the most profitable cars on sale and had a huge global market all to itself. Jaguar must have been mad not to grab a piece of the pie when the canned the F-type in 2000. Now they are finally entering the market they have to compete with the Z4, the much improved Mk2 SLK, the 350Z roadster as well as an improved Boxter, a much more difficult task.

3 April 2008

Milliemiglia - I'd suggest the platform 'sharing' will all be 1-way, from Jaguar to Fiat. Ford have done an excellent job investing in plant and new models for Jaguar and their cars are superb (see JD Power), far better than Masers' - which is why it troubles me so much Ford have sold out for peanuts.. the deal stinks!

4 April 2008

JJ - Ford needs money - thats wat it came down to. When the blue oval sold Aston Martin, people were saying that they sold it for less than what it was worth. The J-LR deal may seem like a bargin for Tata but you gotta remember that Tata now has to invest to revive Jaguar - no easy task. The new XF is a car in the right direction but Jaguar still has some way to go. It desprately needs a new XJ and new model lines.

I put the blame for most of Jaguar's current problems to Ford. They've managed to tarnish this illustrious brand. What Jaguar needs right now is an incredible new model. A car which, people will say "WOW! Jaguar's back!" BMW pulled that trick for Rolls Royce with the manificent Phantom, for Range Rover with the currentt Range Rover. They've managed to produce two truly contemporary luxury cars, while keeping the essence and heritage of each respective brand.

4 April 2008

JJB - Fiat group has far cleaner engines than JLR could make themselves. Can you imagine an XJ with a derivative of that Ferrari V8? either as a maser or a Jag, that's some proposition.

27 May 2008

So then..

In 2010 we'll get a 2 Door, Maserati designed, Fiat engined, hybrid, two seater built in Delhi that can go off road.

Can't wait

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