Jaguar C-XF Concept
Currently, Jaguar has been played some part in filling the Blue Oval’s 2006 earnings pool with red ink, whereas Ford doesn’t issue individual profit-and-loss statements for each of its brands. Everyone – Ford management, stockholders, Jaguar dealers, and customers-continues to wonder if and when the ship can be well and truly turned, the iceberg avoided for good. Much of the brand’s near-term fortune rests on the muscular shoulders of the concept car on these pages, the production version of which (dubbed XF) is coming to market early next year as a 2008 model.
Jaguar avoided the temptation to grab low-hanging fruit and stayed out of the sport/utility vehicle space. One argument was that Land Rover, which produces only SUVs, filled that void for Jaguar, under the umbrella of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group. But since only about 40 percent of Jaguar dealerships are combined with Land Rover stores, there’s a six out of 10 chance that if Jaguar customers want an SUV, they go shopping elsewhere. Even though avoiding the SUV market was a wise move from a branding standpoint, competitors like Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus have cashed in on the lux/ute boom.
Ten years ago, Jaguar had plans to grow to a 200,000 unit-per-year brand. But stiff competition, the above-noted lack of sport/utilities, the dollar’s continued slide against the British pound, and below-projected sales of the compact X-Type have dashed those lofty hopes (Jaguar sold 75,013 cars worldwide last year). There was to be an F-Type roadster, which would’ve competed against the Porsche Boxster and Mercedes-Benz SLK. Production was announced, but later scuttled due to a lack of development money. The company has closed its historic Browns Lane production facility.