Monday 15 April 2013

Jaguar to double sales in three years

Jaguar will double its annual sales to a six-figure total within the next two or three years as a result of the new powertrains, body variants and drive systems it has introduced in the past 12 months, according global brand director Adrian Hallmark.

The company now offers four-wheel-drive versions of the XF and XJ saloons in markets prone to bad winters or plagued by poor roads; has added a Sportbrake (estate) version of the XF in Europe; and has introduced a 2.0-litre engine to avoid China's steep taxes on larger engines, plus supercharged 3-litre V6s which bring down the average CO2 emissions of the range and help to offset declining buyer interest in V8s.

Both Jaguar and Land Rover import these 2-litre EcoBoost engines from Ford’s engine plant in Valencia – see previous story. The engines are customised to JLR’s specification.

Such marketing/engineering measures by jaguar have already helped its sales to grow by 34 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2012. Jaguar finished last year with global sales of 58,000.

"Jaguar has been under-exploited in the past. It has far more potential," said Hallmark. "Changing things was a two-phase process. The first phase was to fill the XK, XF and XJ with the right powertrains and double the number of sectors we compete in. The second phase, which is the most exciting and expensive, is to introduce breakthrough products into new segments. The F-TYPE is the first of those."

Although the F-TYPE will be a low-volume car because of production complexities, it has a vital role to play in returning Jaguar to the sports-car market it has arguably not graced since the demise of the E-type in the 1970s. It will have a V8 gasoline or a choice of two V6 gasoline engines.

Early indications are that the US will take 50 per cent or more of F-TYPE production, with the UK accounting for 20 per cent and Germany 12 per cent.

Three versions will be offered - the 336bhp V6 and 376bhp V6 S, both powered by 3.0-litre supercharged engines, and the 490bhp V8 S with a 5.0-litre supercharged unit. Prices in the UK start at just under £60,000.

The XF is Jaguar's largest seller, accounting almost two-thirds of the company's business. Next up is the XJ (25 per cent), with the XK sweeping up the remaining 10 per cent. But the F-TYPE will attract new buyers to Jaguar and become its third-best seller, believes Hallmark.

"In the next two years there will be a step change in the performance of the brand. We will sell what we can build," said Hallmark. "We have a small car to come - I won't say what kind of small car - and there will be life-cycle improvements to our other cars, including the XK, which is now our oldest model.