So a little birdie who shall remain nameless told me three very interesting things about Jaguar the other day.
Two, that there will also be a manual gearbox version of the F-type available from early next year “because there are still a good 10 per cent of F-type drivers who would genuinely prefer to change gear by themselves".
Three, that Jaguar is kicking itself, albeit quite lightly, for not choosing to build more Project 7s. The Project 7 is a kind of speedster version of the Jaguar F-Type V8 convertible, as you know. Its build numbers were limited by Jaguar to just a few handfuls, at around £150k each.
But according to my source, Jaguar has had so many requests from proper, money wielding customers to build more, they reckon they might even have been able to shift a couple of thousand Project 7s, all at an extremely tidy profit given that it is, at its core, not a lot more than a cosmetically enhanced V8 convertible.
The ideas of the 4WD and manual versions of the F-type are both entirely logical, of course. The market wants them, so the market is going to get them, simple as.
But the failure to read the market regards the Project 7 numbers is much more intriguing, because it shows that Jaguar still doesn’t yet have the confidence to give it both barrels with a car such as this.
Instead, it has put a toe in the water, and that toe has subsequently been chewed off by a desperately wanting market, a bit like a pool full of hungry piranhas.
Next time, you’d have to hope that Jaguar will have the confidence of its convictions, and really believe that it can take the fight to Porsche and Mercedes et al with its limited-edition models. Because when limited-edition models are done right, the profits can be significant. And the rest of the brand tends to get a fairly major injection of energy at the same time.
So it’s a win-win situation – if you get the numbers right in the first place.