Jaguar engineers are working on an all-new front-drive baby saloon that will spearhead sales in India and China, as well becoming one of the company’s leading new models in the all-important US market. It should be launched by 2015 and is likely to built in the UK and India.
According to sources in India, the new model is thought to be about 4.5 metres long and will be powered by Jaguar Land Rover’s all-new three-cylinder, 1.5-litre engine and four-cylinder, 1.8 and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and diesels. Sophisticated new-generation eight and nine-speed automatic gearboxes are also thought to be on the menu.
The baby Jaguar, however, won’t be a budget model. Some estimates say it will cost from £22,000.There will be a number of variations on the mainstay four-door, including a coupé and possibly a small roadster, but there’s no news on whether Jaguar will build a hatchback rival for the future Mercedes A-class. However, the British company has already created a hatchback concept called the RD-6 back in 2003.
Despite the reputation of the unloved X-Type, Jaguar’s decision to build a range of front-drive cars is being partly forced on the company by the stringent new CAFE fuel economy regulations due in the US from 2016.
According to the CAFE rules, by the time the 2016 model year arrives, Jaguar needs to be selling significant numbers of petrol-engined vehicles capable of more than 50mpg, as a result of the US market’s lack of interest in diesel. These fuel economy demands will then become progressively more stringent by 2025.