Wednesday 17 April 2013

Hotfire vital to ‘Baby Jag’ success

The Hotfire engine, to be built by JaguarLandRover at Wolverhampton, will play a vital role in the new ‘Baby Jag’ the company will launch to compete with the BMW’s 3-Series. The engine will be in gasoline and diesel forms and could even appear in different cylinder configurations.

By the time production of the Baby Jag ramps up substantially, production could be reaching 200 cars a day or 1,000 a week – 50,000 a year. Such a figure would help to swell Jaguar’s overall production tally which in the current year should reach 70,000 vehicles compared with around 60,000 last year.

Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s global brand director said at the recent launch of the new Jaguar F-Type sports car: “JaguarLandRover’s aspiration is to be the fourth premium car company in the world.”

He added: “To do that, Jaguar needs to pull its weight. We need to multiply volumes over the next few years. I am talking multiples – not percentage increases. We have already seen increases of 30 per cent. But we need multiples.”

Even a multiple of two would require Jaguar to reach 150,000 as year and in this figure it is easy to see the vital role that the Baby Jag will take with annual volumes of 50,000, or even more.

“If we do go into a segment below the XF, we will have to create Jaguar. It has to have a Jaguar DNA,” said Hallmark.

As has already been seen, the XF and the XJ have been given four-cylinder gasoline engines as part of a coordinated engineering programme with Ricardo. In this programme Jaguar engineers stressed the need for ‘Jaguarness’. Many suppliers will have a vital role to play, even down to those whose names are well down below the parapet, such as those supplying vital emissions test equipment, such as Japanese-owned Horiba Automotive - Toyota is its largest customer, a brand equated to the process of continuous improvement.

This same engineering signature will be required to exist in the Baby Jag and thus it is safe to assume that Ricardo will play an important part in that programme, if it is not there already.

The F-Type has been a long time coming. Its design has emerged through many changes of organisation and even ownership. Many key suppliers which would have played a vital role in the car, like Mayflower Corporation, have disappeared.

”With the F-Type we are back with a vengeance,” said Hallmark. “F-Type has an emotional value that far exceeds its sales volume.”

Sales of the F-Type could be around 7,000 a year – 10 per cent of the world market for this type of car. The price tag will be in the range of £58,500 to £80,000.

Last year, JaguarLandRover sold 357,773 vehicles. If the world-wide market can absorb the Jaguar product (and other new JLR new products) then an overall production tally of 500,000 from three plants is not out of reach – 150,000+ from each. But to achieve that kind of figure, the Baby Jag will have to be a winner in both gasoline and diesel forms.

And once again this points the finger of the upcoming Wolverhampton plant on site i54 close to the M54 Motorway; and the importance of it not only becoming a world-class manufacturing facility, but also producing world-class engines of various configurations.

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