UK: First Jaguar XF rolls off production line

By just-auto.com editorial team | 27 November 2007

What may turn out to be the most important model ever for up-for-sale Jaguar rolled off the production line at the company's Castle Bromwich plant yesterday.

Loss-making Jaguar's XF sports saloon is seen by many as crucial to the company's future under a new owner. The prestige brand's future ownership is expected to become clearer this side of Christmas when Ford names a 'preferred bidder' from a shortlist.

Industry speculation centres on Tata as the current front runner, but a number of other strong bids are in contention for Jaguar-Land Rover's combined operations, including one fronted by former Ford CEO and PAG mastermind Jacques Nasser at private equity firm One Equity.

The first production car, a Vapour Grey 4.2 litre SV8 has been donated to the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust collection and will go on display alongside some of Jaguar's most prestigious and memorable vehicles ranging from the oldest surviving Daimler, the 1897 Grafton Phaeton to the 1974 E-Type - the last ever built.

More than 500 employees from the plant gathered to watch Sir William Lyons' grandson, Michael Quinn, drive the car off the end of the Trim and Final production line. He said: "My Grandfather would have been immensely proud today. The new XF is a car that truly represents the core values which have lain at the heart of this great brand since its foundation in 1922 and I am thrilled to have been asked here today to witness this historic event from the best seat in the house!"

Jaguar says it has invested significantly in the new facility at the Castle Bromwich plant to ensure that the new XF is 'built to even higher standards than the S-type' that it replaces.

Commenting on the introduction of the new model, Richard Else, Operations Director at Castle Bromwich, said: "Today is a significant milestone for Jaguar and a very proud moment for the Castle Bromwich team who have worked tirelessly to ensure this car delivers the highest levels of quality and refinement customers have come to expect from Jaguar." 

The Jaguar XF will be exported from Castle Bromwich to 66 markets worldwide with the first UK customers taking delivery of their cars in March next year.

See also: UK: Tata in pole for Jaguar-LR