Jaguar XF:

2009 Jaguar XF: Replacing the S-Type

0

Jag’s New XF Revives a Commitment to Style and Grace
Jaguar previewed the replacement for their aging S-Type with the C-XF concept at the January 2007 Detroit auto show (click for our story). When the production XF photos were first released in August, contributor George Peterson was quick to praise the new look (click here). After that, the XF had a formal introduction at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show, and we had a chance to get a little closer and look at what Jag is really offering as an S-Type replacement. Depending on market, the order books for the XF opened this month, though the first deliveries won’t be until March 2008. And no launch is complete without a dedicated website, check out www.jaguarxf.com for Jag’s take.

Jag_09_XF_show_1_350.jpg

Jaguar needs the XF to re-establish the brand’s style and luxury credentials in the middle of the lineup. The new XK and XJ haven’t lost that touch, though the V8 engines that give the smaller XF a competitive powertrain in its class leave the larger, more expensive entries slightly behind their competition. And, as Peterson pointed out in his design review, the XJ and XK look too much like recent generations. The out-going S-Type did not age gracefully and, while its style hearkened back to Jaguars of old, the S-Type looked old too quickly in its relatively long lifespan. Further, the lower priced Jaguar X-Type has not done Jaguar any image favors. The all-new XF needs to rekindle the passion of Jaguar and at first blush looks equal to its task.
Jag_09_XF_show_sab_bl.jpg

With carryover engines, development of the XF focused on styling, creature comforts, and incorporates many driving aids and electronic helpers from the XK. The XF also debuts features like the JaguarSense proximity sensor and JaguarDrive Select gear selector. The XF will be the entrylevel U.S. Jag about the end of the decade, and it has the luxury feature updates it needs, including improved quality of interior materials. The debate will continue on styling, but powertrain and features boxes are all checked, and suspension elements and tricks suggest the driving dynamics will be strong as well.
Jag_09_XF_show_sab_bl_2.jpg


Continue Reading

2007 Frankfurt Motor Show: The Color this Fall Was Green

1

I spent two days crisscrossing the massive Frankfurt auto show, and the focus on reducing emissions and improving fuel economy and “green” solutions could not be missed. Very few manufacturers were not talking about fuel economy gains in their powertrain lineup and many announced hybrid plans or showed hybrid concepts. What we’re seeing here is the culmination of years of research, rather than fiberglass what-if models. Many of these hybrids or other technology-based solutions will be on the roads later this decade.

VolvoRecharge.jpg

Mercedes-Benz will, during the 2009CY, offer a hybrid powertrain in the S-Class and the M-Class, while a smart fortwo mild hybrid system goes on sale in October. Porsche gave updated the Cayenne’s diesel for more power but also promises a parallel series hybrid using the existing 3.6L V6 by the end of 2010CY. General Motors took the system shown under the Chevrolet Volt in January, replaced the gasoline engine with a diesel one, and created the Opel Flextreme as well as showing off an Opel Corsa Hybrid. Volvo put a plug-in hybrid into the C30 to create the Recharge concept. Land Rover is adding stop-start systems in 2009CY, and Audi will bring a hybrid to the Q7.
MercedesF700.jpg

Small cars are more prevalent on international roads and therefore more prevalent at auto shows outside the United States. Toyota brought us the iQ, Volkswagen the up!, and Ford the Verve. Renault’s latest Twingo was on the show floor as well, though this was not its debut.
toyotaiq.jpg

Ferrari430Scud.jpg

Notable exceptions to the small and green game were Ferrari and the 430 Scuderia (introduced by Michael Schumacher himself), the Aston Martin DBS (officially introduced at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance), the Bentley Continental GTS Speed, the Lamborghini Reventon (of which only twenty will be made, with a price tag around $1.4 million), and Maserati.
OpelFlextreme.jpg

AudiA4.jpg

Day two of Frankfurt’s show holds most of the supplier press conferences, leaving us a chance to take photos and see some general reaction. Frankfurt’s convention center has 10 halls, with at least seven of them holding the major manufacturers and others holding aftermarket and supplier stands. Walking the full show requires much time and comfortable shows and several hours. Interest was strong in the Mercedes-Benz F700 Concept (previewing the next S-Class), the Audi A4, Opel’s Flextreme, Ford’s Verve and Kuga, and Jaguar’s XF. Peugeot and Citroen concepts, the 308RCZ and the Airscape, saw plenty of attention, as did Nissan’s very odd-looking Mixim.
KiaKee.jpg

BMWX6.jpg

The Volkswagen Tiguan stand was flocked with people getting a chance to get in and crawl around the new model, with plenty also checking out the up! city car. Interestingly, every time I went through hall 6, home to Italian makes Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, Ferrari, and Maserati as well as Porsche and Hyundai it was completely mobbed. On the other hand, Kia’s Kee coupe concept and BMW’s X6 concepts didn’t seem to grab attendees as much.
Volkswagenup.jpg

Peugeot308rcz.jpg

While going green may be good for us, hybrid systems and new engine developments don’t make for great pictures or put the enthusiasm into driving that a great-looking design can. Over the coming weeks, we’ll bring you more detailed coverage of many of these. Stay tuned.
jaguarxf.jpg


Continue Reading

From the Economist – Beauty on the Block – Jag and Land Rover

1

This article appeared today on The Economist website and provides their typically British spin on the automotive industry in Britain sometimes to the exclusion of others. Included here with VehicleVoice commentary.
Beauty on the Block
August 30th 2007
From The Economist print edition
A new car and six potential buyers signal hope for Jaguar
EMOTION is said to play a part in many car purchases, but it is less likely to be a factor when buying a car company. Even so, the reaction this week to the first pictures of Jaguar’s new XF saloon will have done nothing to still the beating hearts of the half-dozen or so likely bidders for Jaguar and Land Rover, the two British marques being auctioned together by their beleaguered owner, Ford.

Jag XF F34 in Motion.jpg

But who will buy it?
It would be hard to exaggerate the importance to Jaguar of the XF, which is certain to be one of the stars of the Frankfurt motor show in September. It represents a complete design departure from the frumpy “retro” look with which Jaguar has saddled its often well-engineered saloons for the last decade. If the XF’s swooping lines and elegantly modernist interior are a hit with younger customers who would never previously have thought of owning a Jaguar, then the firm, under new ownership, may have a future after all.
VehicleVoiceIn our story of August 28, the XF represents a potential saviour for Jaguar – a car that is coveted by buyers of mid-size luxury cars the world over. As we mentioned then, Ford may be getting out of Jaguar just as it turns the corner. Of course, the very conservatively styled, but excellent, XJ premium luxury entry needs to get an injection of XF DNA the next time it is freshened and that is years off.
Although Ford has refused to name the prospective buyers, they include Tata Motors (a division of Tata Group, an Indian conglomerate), probably another Indian car company, Mahindra & Mahindra, and at least four private-equity firms. These include Cerberus Capital Management (which relieved Daimler of Chrysler), One Equity Partners, Ripplewood Holdings, and Texas Pacific Group.
All the bidders are now deep into due diligence as they prepare to table non-binding offers at the end of September. As well as poring over the books, they are touring facilities and examining plans for future products. They are also competing in a beauty contest for the backing of potentially hostile unions, which fear for the jobs of 19,000 members employed in several British factories. Ford is publicly confident of concluding a sale by early next year at the latest. But reaching a sensible valuation of the two marques, which Ford says must be sold together because their operations have become so tightly integrated, is not proving easy.
VehicleVoice – Don’t forget… The Land Rover LR2 (Freelander II) and Volvo XC60 share a common platform. That’s about the limit of cross marque sharing among Jaguar/Land Rover and other Ford brands. Pulling away from Volvo would be much more problematic for Ford because of cross-platform sharing with Volvo and Ford’s big cars in the USA (Taurus/Sable/Taurus X) and the S60-V70-S60 plus sharing of the European Focus/Mazda3/Volvo C30-S40-V50.
Judging how far the XF will halt the slide in Jaguar’s fortunes—its sales have fallen by almost half from a peak of 130,000 a few years ago—is only one question among many. How long will the weak dollar eat into the sales and earnings of both makers? Is it necessary to have three factories and a separate design centre to build fewer than 270,000 cars a year? What will happen to Jaguar and Land Rover, which make relatively big and thirsty vehicles, if the European Commission goes ahead with its plan to impose upon car manufacturers an average CO2 emission target of 130g/km by 2012? And how will the onset of a global credit squeeze affect what private-equity groups can pay for a capital-intensive business with a time horizon of three to five years?
The answer to the last two questions may depend on the kind of deal that Ford is prepared to do. All the possible bidders seem likely to want something similar to that wrung from Daimler by Cerberus. The German firm not only agreed to hold on to a 20% equity stake in Chrysler, but also provided substantial financing. Any new owner will want to ensure that Ford retains an interest in the future of the business, in part because it may be possible to persuade the commission to count Jaguar and Land Rover as part of Ford’s bigger and more economical range for the purpose of measuring emissions.
As for Ford, its priority is just to get a respectable deal done. Alan Mulally, its chief executive, is adamant that running luxury brands has no part in the company’s future. He also concedes that the credit market’s tightening “absolutely is an issue”. Lovely though the XF may be, Mr Mulally wants someone else to be its proud owner as soon as possible.
VehicleVoice – All true, Economist. But where does that leave Volvo? The rumor mill continues to mention possible sale of Volvo as well, but Volvo is profitable and intimately linked with Ford in a prduct sense. The idea of Ford keeping an equity stake to convince the EU to let Ford’s volumes count against those of Jaguar and Land Rover in emissions regulations is probably absolutely necessary. After all, the present product decisions at Jaguar and Land Rover were made under that scenario – having Ford as a balancer for their worse CO2 emissions.


Continue Reading

2009 Jaguar XF – I Want One

0

We’ve been seeing the Jaguar C-XF in concept form at auto shows for a couple of years now. The concept car is a show-stopper. It is gorgeous from any angle and so sporty that it makes the Mercedes CLS 4-door coupe look like a taxi. And that was my initial problem with the XF concept. Looked like it was a car you couldn’t live with for long. All the disadvantages of a coupe without the advantages of carrying around a couple of more doors.

Jag XF 2009 Upper F34.jpg

XF Looks Great in Production Form
Well, the first photos of the real Jaguar XF have just been released and the car looks great! It is clearly a Jaguar, but will never be mistaken as a previous generation car like the present XJ sedan is. Coming out in the 1st Quarter 2008 as a 2009 model, the XF should arrive just after Ford has closed the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover to somebody. Too bad, XF may be the single car that makes the Jaguar proposition profitable for the first time in fifty years.
Jag XF F34 in Motion.jpg

The XF is a 4-door sedan, for now at least. Apparently, Jag is playing with the idea of a wagon and coupe models, but given their dire financial situation it’s doubtful we’ll se anything but the sedan for many years. Even with the 4-door you have to question whether anyone over 5-feet 4-inches will be able to sit in the rear seat or how difficult it is to get in the driver’s seat?
USA Gets V8-Only – Right Plan?
While other markets will get V6 and diesel versions of the XF, the USA will get only the 4.2L V8 giving the XF a performance image from the get-go. While other cars in the mid-luxury class are struggling to sell even 20% of their mix in V8 form, XF is going whole hog. how this will pan out in this era of high fuel prices (the Brits will laugh at that one – I paid over $8.00 per gallon when I was over there a couple of months ago), and environmental consciousness. Maybe a V8-only plan is not the right way to go. Time will tell on that one, and Jag does have a V6 to fall back on.
Jag XF R34 Upper.jpg

New Owners May Inherit a Jaguar with Potential of Profit
Jaguar may be on its death bed and that is when some companies make the last gasp and make a heroic come-back. Remember Ford in the 1980s when the Taurus saved their butt with its advanced and innovative styling? Remember the Explorer redefining the SUV market and making it was for over 15 years? Remember the Chrysler 300? All vehicles made when their makers were up against the ropes or on the respirator. XF could be Jaguar’s saviour on the product-side. Now, I wonder who will buy the business just before XF is introduced?


Continue Reading

2007 Detroit Auto Show: Jaguar C-XF Shows the Next New Jag Goes Sexy

2

Four-Door Coupe Set to Replace S-Type
At the 2007 North American International Auto Show, those attending the media days got a strong hint as to the look of a Jaguar S-Type replacement. Unfortunately for consumers, the show car was pulled before they got there. It is being shown to dealers before being shipped back to Europe for display at the 2007 Geneva auto show this March. By the end of this year, we expect to see the production car shown.
Expect to see the launch of the Jaguar XF production version in 2008 as a 2009 model year product.

Jag_09_XF_07Cncpt_bl_12.jpg

Just before the Detroit show, Jaguar acknowledged that S-Type replacement will be renamed XF, to move it in line with the XK and XJ. Those creative types at Jag then named the 2007 concept C-XF. Naming aside, this is one terrific-looking concept with looks enough to get Jaguar’s mid-level entry back on the map.
Jag_09_XF_07Cncpt_bl_11.jpg

Jag_09_XF_07Cncpt_bl_9.jpg

Styling is by Ian Callum’s team and is revolutionary in the way that the Mercedes-Benz CLS is revolutionary. Sticking with Jag’s hereditary low-roof design, the C-XF sports a fastback look more like the XK coupe than XJ sedan. The C-XF tells us that the XF will take sportier look than the S-Type ever did. The C-XF concept has a lower roof than the production car will wear, but the new style still will compromise rear seat headroom when the car reaches production. This is a clear sacrifice, one that has hampered prior Jaguar models and, for some buyers, has ruled out the Mercedes-Benz CLS.
For other buyers, however, style is the object and poor headroom for occasional rear passengers is a sacrifice they’re perfectly willing to make. After all, the driver is seldom riding in the rear seat. Compromise or no, the fastback roof looks great on the concept and contributes to its stylish profile.


Continue Reading

Follow VehicleVoice

RSS Feed   Facebook   Twitter

Membership

Join

Recent Winners

Sid P., Washington - $100
Ken G., Nevada - $100
Brad T., Wisconsin - $100
Tom M., Virginia - $100
Kathy F., New Jersey - $100
John M., Massachusetts - $100
Mike M., California - $100
Carol R., Texas - $100
James D., Georgia - $100
Martha B., New Jersey - $100
Kerry B., Pennsylvania - $100

What is VehicleVoice?

About Vehicle Voice