Jaguar has shelved plans to make its new S-type in aluminium because it will enable the company to bring the car to market 18 months faster. The car will now go on sale in 2008, after a motor show launch late next year.
Geoff Polites, chairman and chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, believes getting new product to market is the key to improving Jaguar sales, at present bumping along at around 80,000 units a year.
'We just couldn't wait the extra year and a half', says Polites. 'We don't feel too bad about our decision because the other major players in the sector have steel bodies, too. We'll be working hard to keep weight down - just as everyone is - and there's also a cost saving on steel.' The S-type is vital to improve Jaguar's falling sales, and is reputed to kick off a radical new styling direction based on 2003's RD-6 concept car (above).
Meanwhile, Jaguar has sold its historic Browns Lane factory and launched long-promised plans to expand its Whitley Technical Centre site into a science park. The last of the Browns Lane operations, the veneer shop and Heritage Museum, will move to the new site 'as soon as possible'.
Polites believes this further consolidation of Jaguar activities is worth 'tens of millions of dollars' to the struggling company.