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New baby Jaguar will not be another X-Type
Jaguar is confident its crucial new ‘baby Jaguar’ will be a success and not repeat the mistakes of the charmless X-Type, according to Jaguar Land Rover CEO Dr. Ralf Speth.
“We try not to do every mistake twice,” he told MSN Cars. “We learn and listen.”
The 2001 X-Type was meant to be a breakthrough car for Jaguar, one that would see it become a serious rival to BMW. However, the 3 Series rival was not up to scratch and Jaguar actually ended up stopping production early to ensure it did not further tarnish the brand.
“Customers liked the X-Type but brand loyalists did not,” said Jaguar brand director Adrian Hallmark. “It was a very polarising car”. The firm will not be making the same mistake again, said Dr. Speth.
“We understand what it takes to research new development. We are over proportionally investing in research and development, and test any new designs all over the world.
“Jaguar is no longer just focused on Warwickshire.”
NEW BABY JAGUAR ‘IMPORTANT’
The new baby Jaguar is still a few years off and its final look and design has not yet been finalised, but Jaguar knows it is a very important car. “Jaguar needs volume,” said group sales director Phil Popham. “There are a lot of customers and retailers to feed.”
The new small Jaguar is likely to be priced slightly higher than the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 it is likely to compete with, but Jaguar says it will also offer features not available in those cars. Expect surprises in both design and on the technical side.
In coming years, we can expect to see motorshow concept cars that hint at the look of the new model. Jaguar is eager to attract conquest customers from other brands, and show cars play a key role in this. This is especially true for new models such as this baby Jaguar – “they show where we want to go with the brand,” said Popham.
“The Land Rover DC100 is a good example of this: it has a high level of acceptance, and people love it.”
RANGE ROVER EVOQUE – FROM CONCEPT TO PRODUCTION
Another example of Jaguar Land Rover’s successful concept car strategy is the LRX – which is now sold as the hugely successful Range Rover Evoque. “We went through a comprehensive process with this car, and we learnt a lot from the concept – which is why were able to deliver such a successful product.”
Land Rover was able to start measuring response and feedback from the moment it was revealed, meaning the model could be honed to meet customer expectations even before it was launched.
The firm also has an unexpected adviser bringing a wealth of experience to developments such as a new baby Jaguar – Tata owner Mr. Ratan Tata. “He visits Gaydon every 6-8 weeks,” revealed Dr. Speth. “He is an engineer by training and has a lot of experience in design. Tata personally looks at all developments, says Dr. Speth, and offers a lot of valuable insight and consultation on them.
He is also an automotive labyrinth,” added Dr. Speth. Tata has an encyclopedic knowledge of cars, technology and engineering dating back to the 1950s. But while he is enthusiastic and innovative, he also gives JLR the freedom to expand and develop by itself, without involvement.
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