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April 18, 2005

USA: Jaguar’s underperforming X-type sedan to live until 2009.

Sales of the Jaguar X-type have been disappointing in its two largest markets.

Sales of the Jaguar X-type have been disappointing in its two largest markets.

Year     US        W. Europe
2004    21,542  38,343
2003    26,772  27,346
2002    33,018  30,699
2001    9,765*  17,547*
*Midyear launch
Source: Automotive News Data Centre, JATO Dynamics

But Jaguar is stuck with the underperforming X-type sedan for four more years, company sources told Automotive News Europe.

Mark Fields, executive vice president of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, confirmed that Jaguar still is pondering the X-type’s future.

“We have not started thinking about what to do with the next-generation X-type,” he said in an interview at the New York motor show. “We have some other fish to fry in terms of product planning.”

The X-type’s eight-year product cycle, 2001-09, is far longer than most of Jaguar’s competitors in the lower-premium segment. BMW has a six-year cycle for the 3 series, but it often has alternated sheet-metal changes and powertrain upgrades every three years to keep things fresh.

The turning point is 2009, when the current X-type sedan will end. Jaguar and Ford sources say Jaguar could replace it with another nameplate. Or Jaguar could leave the near-luxury segment altogether and concentrate on higher-priced vehicles, said one company source.

Supplier sources confirmed that Jaguar has not contacted them for requests for quotes for an X-type redesign – typically the first step in the procurement process.

Other than the addition of diesel and station wagon models in Europe and the wagon in America, Jaguar has made no major changes to the X-type. Ford and Jaguar insiders say no other major changes are planned.

The X-type was launched in Europe in spring 2001 and reached the US market in autumn 2001. The car has never come close to its stated goal of 100,000 annual global sales.

In 2003, the X-type barely cracked 50,000 units in Europe and the United States and western Europe, its two main markets.

Last year, sales in western Europe rose after Jaguar introduced diesel and wagon variants. Although 2004 was the X-type’s best year in western Europe, sales slumped again this year.

To the end of February, European sales were off 34% compared with the same period of 2004.

Worse, US sales have been in a freefall. The X-type 2.5-litre version was deleted from the US model line-up for the 2005 model year, leaving only the 3.0-litre version.

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