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Jaguar targets wider competitiveness

Date: 26 April 2011   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Jaguar's longer-term competitive position against BMW, Audi and Mercedes will be strengthened by an XF estate car, a new BMW 3-series-rivalling upper medium model and the introduction of hybrid technology across its range.

Adrian Hallmark, the manufacturer's global brand director, who admitted Jaguar is "playing catch-up with the Germans", also said the company will move its product portfolio "towards the Flying Spur" or nearer to Bentley, for whom he worked previously as sales and marketing director.

A concept version of a "proper sports car" will be shown next year, possibly at the Detroit motor show, and Hallmark also revealed that a "dynamic and piece of mind" all-wheel drive system will be applied firstly to the XJ, and then to a 4x4 crossover that's due within four years.

Jaguar estimates that "at least half" of 2.2-litre 190hp diesel XF sales - the car is due go on-sale in September - will be in the corporate sector, though company insiders concede this is a "cautious, conservative prediction."

The timescale for the new generation of Jaguars involves the XF estate car within 18 months and a 3-series rival "at the top end of D [upper medium] sector" in three years' time, a year ahead of the new crossover, while all-wheel-drive technology will be applied "as soon as possible".

Senior Jaguar design sources have also flagged up the possibility of the 3-series-rival range including a five-door bodystyle, and stated that the new sports car will not be Porsche Boxster-sized.

Hallmark said that since the recession, Jaguar Land Rover's Indian owner, Tata Motors, had committed funding to "particular products with particular timescales". Hallmark added: "In the premium or luxury sector you have to go for the bull's eye, without hesitation, repetition or deviation."

Meanwhile, Hallmark's Land Rover counterpart, John Edwards, confirmed that the Defender, whose predecessors date back 60 years, will be replaced and "people are working very hard to define what it looks like. Expect to see more in the next two or three years."

Edwards said the Range Rover Evoque, which will have a starting price of £27,955 for the front-wheel drive version and is due this September, had generated 12,000 firm orders and 100,000 "hot prospects" to "bring new customers, fleet and retail, to our business". The front-wheel drive Evoque variant is Range Rover's first ever two-wheel drive model, and has a 129g/km, 58mpg capability in three-door 150hp diesel coupe form.

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