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Jaguar “Chills Out” With New AWD Line-Up

Adding an “emotional fulcrum” – and more product to come.

by on Aug.16, 2012

Jaguar's new all-wheel-drive XJ goes through cold-weather testing.

Considering the record-breaking heat that’s scorched much of the country one might expect a significant turnout as Jaguar’s “Chill NY” event gets underway in New York this week.  The event, which gives Big Apple residents the opportunity to skate inside what the maker bills as a “life-size snow globe,” will also feature celebrities Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski and Johnny Weir.

But Jaguar is hoping the real attraction will be the chance to get a first look at the maker’s newest models, all-wheel-drive versions of its flagship  XJ and smaller XF sedans – products the maker expects to give the brand a massive sales boost in the months ahead.

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The arrival of the first AWD models since the old X-Type was abandoned is part of a broader product roll-out that also includes the addition of Jaguar’s new V-6 line-up.  Taking together, “This is a massive deal,” contends Andy Goss, president and CEO of Jaguar-Land Rover North America, “because the market has migrated away from V-8s to V-6 engines, (and another)  big problem for us has been we didn’t have all-wheel-drive.“


Jaguar Downsizes Engine Line-Up

Adds first U.S. 4-cylinder, and a supercharged V-6 for big XJ.

by on Jun.29, 2012

The 2013 Jaguar XJ will swap its 5.0-liter V-8 for a supercharged V-6.

Bigger is better, or so the traditional logic has gone when it comes to the luxury market – and especially powertrain options.  But facing tough new emissions and mileage mandates – and shifting consumer demand – manufacturers like Jaguar are downsizing both their vehicle lines and their engine offerings.

The British marque has revealed plans to offer its first-ever inline-four in the U.S. market for 2013.  And the coming model-year will also see Jaguar replace the 5.0-liter V-8 in its XJ flagship with a new supercharged 3.0-liter V-6.

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Among other powertrain news for 2013, the British luxury marque will introduce a new 8-speed automatic and will add Stop/Start technology.  The latter feature – already being offered by such high-line brands as Porsche and BMW – automatically shuts off the engine when idling, say, at a stop light. The engine instantly fires back up when the driver’s foot lifts off the brake.


First Look: “Ultimate Jaguar”

Work hard, play harder.

by on Apr.24, 2012

Jaguar brings its "Ultimate XJ" to Beijing.

If you think American luxury buyers are picky, you haven’t been to China lately.  With a heaping helping of billionaires and nearly a million millionaires, there’s a booming market for high-line products.  In fact, Bentley is just one of many brands now selling more cars in China than anywhere else.

But those everyday luxury cars U.S. and European buyers settle for don’t necessarily have traction in the People’s Republic, where buyers want more, more, more – starting with plenty of room in the back seat, and all the amenities normally available to those up front.

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So, hoping to pick up a bigger share of the market, Jaguar is displaying what it calls the “Ultimate XJ” at the Beijing Motor Show.

Among the many niceties: the back is not only bigger but features seats that are independently adjustable – power controls, of course.  Even the fold-town tables are motorized, and there are iPads with keyboards mounted into the back of the front seats.


Jaguar XJ Takes Inaugural Women’s World Car of the Year Award

Luxury brands click with distaff jurors.

by on Sep.15, 2011

WWCoTY's Indian juror Renuka Kirpilani and co-founder Sandy Myhre (r).

The Jaguar XJ has taken honors as the inaugural winner of the Women’s World Car of the Year.

The news came as a surprise to many – including some of the WWCoTY jurors — who had assumed that the winner would be a much smaller car.

But the first year’s awards were full of surprises, according to organizers, including a tie they hadn’t planned for.

Four years ago, three women motoring journalists were discussing the well-established World Car of the Year program when they realized that of the 54 jury members not one was a woman.  Considering that women now make up a major force — if not the majority — when it comes to buying cars today, there seemed only one logical way to respond.

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That led them to come up with a program of their own, the Women’s World Car of the Year. Those three are now a part of the 18 WWCoTY jury members, all well-established motoring writers from around the world who want to give a voice for women motorists and car buyers.

The inaugural awards were presented this week at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show.


Jaguar/Land Rover Planning 40 New Models, Variants and Major Technology Introductions

British brands plan to shift from niche to mainstream.

by on May.03, 2011

A production version of the striking C-X75 concept would push the number of new Jaguar models and variants to 41.

It has been a roller-coaster ride for Jaguar over the last 15 years, but now part of the ambitious Indian Tata Motors, the British automaker has some ambitious plans in the work along with its sibling Land Rover brand.

Senior company officials tell that the two brands will jointly be launching a major product assault over the next five years with the goal of lifting Jaguar and Land Rover out of their low-volume niches and planting them much more firmly in the luxury mainstream.

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“We’ll be launching 40 new cars, derivatives and (major) technologies from Jaguar/Land Rover in the next five years,” said Adrian Hallmark, who joined Jaguar as its Global Brand Director last October.

The list of new programs breaks down into three categories: (more…)

Jaguar Disavows B99 – Leaves Future of Compact Replacement in the Air

“Not the right direction,” says senior U.S. exec.

by on Mar.14, 2011

Jaguar disavows the Bertone B99 concept.

Don’t expect to see the much-ballyhooed Jaguar B99 concept vehicle hit the assembly line anytime soon.  Make that ever.

Though the Bertone-designed prototype received plenty of attention even before it was formally unveiled at the recent Geneva Motor Show, Jaguar officials are forcefully disassociating themselves from the unabashedly retro design.  And that leaves plenty of uncertainty about if and when the British brand will come up with a replacement for its largely unloved X-Type to fill a big gap in the booming compact luxury car segment.

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The word, “bold,” was frequently used to describe the three-box design of the B99, which was meant to celebrate the long relationship between Bertone and Jaguar, which dated back to the XK150, from 1957.  The look was distinctly different from the wedgy shapes of recent Jag models, such as the XF and XK, and seemed almost aimed at reviving the classic shape of the old and long-running XJ sedan.


First Look: Jaguar B99

Bertone’s glimpse of the future for the British marque.

by on Feb.22, 2011

The Bertone-designed Jaguar B99 makes its debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

There’s plenty to celebrate with the upcoming debut of the Jaguar B99, the Bertone-designed concept scheduled to debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show marking the company’s 99th anniversary.

The deep red show car also provides a strong hint of what’s to come when Jaguar gets back into the small luxury car segment with a much-needed replacement for the mostly unloved X-Type sedan.

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Roughly 15 feet, nose-to-tail and slotting into the D-segment, the B99 might seem a conservative design, at first blush, with a wee bit of heritage carried over from the classic XJ.  But a closer look reveals some distinctive touches, notably the unusual barn doors – or rear suicide doors, if you so prefer.  They look large but are actually only about half the size of those up front.

The familiar grille of the mid-range XF is carried over, as is, of course, the Leaper hood ornament.  And, in keeping with Jaguar’s focus on light, fuel-efficient luxury cars, the B99 also opts for an aluminum body and chassis.


O’Driscoll Leaving as Jaguar Managing Director

Helped steer sale and rebuilding process.

by on Oct.11, 2010

Mike O'Driscoll will retire as Managing Director of Jaguar.

Mike O’Driscoll, a key member of the Jaguar management team that guided the company through its often difficult days under Ford Motor Co. and then through its sale to India’s Tata Motors, will be leaving the company.

With more than 30 years of experience at the British automaker and its U.K. affiliate, Land Rover, O’Driscoll played a critical role in salvaging the two brands during their years as Ford subsidiaries.  He then oversaw the challenging transition as the U.S. maker decided to focus on its core domestic brands and sell off Jaguar-Land Rover.

“Over the last three years we’ve had the opportunity to start the rebuilding,” O’Driscoll told in announcing his decision to retire next March.  “It’s a great way to sign off my career.”

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The legendary Jaguar brand, known for benchmark designs like the classic E-Type sports car, was a financial basket case under British government ownership when Ford decided to buy the maker – after a brief but intense bidding war pitting it against rival General Motors – in 1989.


Is There A “Baby” Jaguar In The Works?

Luxury maker mum on X-Type replacement, “reports” abound.

by on Jul.22, 2010

Is Jaguar readying a replacement for the largely unloved X-Type?

It was, for a time, the best-selling Jaguar ever, but when the British marque decided to abandon the small sedan, few wept at the departure of a model that had seldom received favorable reviews.  Yet the question remains whether any luxury brand with even modest mainstream aspirations can survive without an offering in the compact segment – and there are growing indications that a new “Baby” Jag just might be headed for production.

The original X-Type suffered from the fact that it was a compromise design, sharing much of its underlying platform and componentry with the Mondeo, the mid-market compact produced by Jaguar’s former parent, Ford Motor Co.  Now that the British maker – and its sibling Land Rover – are owned by India’s Tata Motors, a future Baby Jaguar would almost certainly feature an entirely unique platform, or a heavily modified version of the chassis used by the larger and more expensive Jaguar XF.

The British maker has confirmed that it plans to increase its line-up in a bid to boost what are admittedly marginal sales.  The all-new 2011 XJ marks the start of that campaign, but despite its hefty price tag, a luxury maker can rarely survive solely on large premium models.  In today’s highline market, mid- and compact products are the high-demand offerings, the BMW 3-Series proving the point.


A compact sports car, smaller than the current XK, is under development, Jaguar officials confirm.  But beyond that, the maker is being unusually cagey about future products.  In an interview with earlier this year, Jaguar’s managing director Mike O’Driscoll said there were no plans for a new Baby sedan, though his carefully worded comments didn’t rule out the possibility of changes to that strategy.

And since the hiring of former Opel boss Carl-Peter Forster as Tata’s chief executive, insiders say many changes are, indeed, being made.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia

by on Jun.25, 2009

Our Federal Automobile Websites

Illegal sites are up and running in an attempt to con and deceive gullible consumers about the Cash for Clunkers program, now known officially as the Car Allowance Rebate System — CARS, isn’t that cute? NHTSA has set up an official web site to provide information about the program.  The agency also has a hotline at 888-327-4236. Consumers can visit that Web site or call the hot-line number to get official information about the program.

For MPG data, the government’s fuel economy website  is a very good. There are charts to show fuel consumption for hundreds of makes and models going back to 1985. Other interesting information includes links to many non-government auto websites.

Jaguar’s 30 Day Countdown to a New Car

Jaguar XJ

The showroom window "tease strategy" isn't used anymore, but Jaguar has adapted it for the web.

There was a time when new car dealers would white-out their showroom windows with just few peep-holes to look through to see their newest car. Slowly the viewing area got bigger so more of the car was seen. When I was a kid, one of the high spots of the year was going downtown to take a peak-look at the new cars on a dealer’s showroom floors. 

That “tease strategy” isn’t used anymore, but Jaguar has adapted it for today’s digital, Internet world of commerce and information with a 30 day teaser series of videos using Jag execs emailed to those who have registered at the site.  Jag’s teaser began with an ad and p.r. campaign directing the reader to a special website where videos are running until July 3 on features of the new XJ. Print ads will run till the international reveal on July 9th in London.