INTERVIEW: Jaguar to 'become more international'

By headlineauto | 5 April 2011

Jaguar is still a British company that sells cars abroad, it is not yet a true global player says brand director Adrian Hallmark.

But he is quick to point out that this is about to change, led in the short term by tweaks to existing models followed by new vehicles and technologies set to be introduced over the next few years.

New models will include smaller cars and something at the top end closer to the Bentley Continental, added Hallmark.

More immediate, however, is a plan to expand the reach of the existing 3-model line up, the XF, XJ and XK.

This will start with a four-cylinder diesel engine for the XF when the model is refreshed later this year. The 2.2-litre engine, said Hallmark, will give the car greater appeal in European markets where buyers of luxury models are downsizing their engines.

The diesel engine, mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission and stop-start system, will give the XF a return of more than 50 miles to the gallon and a CO2 figure of 149g/km.

Further afield, V6 petrol engines will be made available for the market in China, as well as the existing V8s, and all-wheel-drive will be launched first in the United States.

Hallmark said: "Last year saw growth in all our export markets but the internationalisation of Jaguar is vital to grow our market share. We need to be more market specific in the cars we sell around the world.

"Over the next two years we will make the XF, XJ and XK - the best line-up we have had for decades - work harder in current and new markets. In Europe 50% of the XF market is for diesels which is why we are introducing the new engine.

"In China the V8 XJ costs £200,000 with taxes and import duties, a V6 engine will allow us to halve that price to customers - and 90% of the luxury market there is for six cylinder engines. In the US we sell 70% of our cars in the snow belt where buyers opt largely for all-wheel-drive, so we will have such a system available there soon."

Further down the line, the product line will expand. Hallmark added: "We are still playing catch-up and at some point in the future we will build cars below our current product range and also above.

"We will also be increasing the use of aluminium structures and introducing hybrids as we move forward."

Hallmark stressed, however, that Jaguar will not be chasing high volumes. "We don't want to compete with BMW or Mercedes or look to sell 1m cars a year, we want to retain our premium exclusivity."