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Editor/Photographer : Mark Charles
February 6 2008
may widen XF diesel line
Continuing green pressure and rising fuel prices could force Jaguar into introducing a small-capacity diesel engine in the new XF saloon in coming years.
The bulk of sales of Jag's competitors in the UK, the BMW 5-series and Audi A6, are concentrated on two-litre diesels but Jag doesn't have an alternative to these low-C02 models at launch.
It does offer circa-two-litre turbodiesels from a JV with parent Ford and PSA in its smaller X-type line.
"We will just have to keep an eye on where the market is going and if customers start demanding it, we will have to respond," said Jag product development chief Mick Mohan.
The decision will also depend on how Jaguar sees its future brand image. It may prefer to limit sales and concentrate on higher-output engines.
The XF does have a 204bhp 2.7-litre V6 Tdi diesel engine option, a competitor for BMW's 525d and Audi's A6 2.7TDi. Its 37mpg fuel economy and 199g/km C02 emissions are typical for the engine size, but a long way off the UK company car tax-friendly 140g/km of the 520d and 166g/km of the Audi 2.0Tdi.
Jaguar engineers are understood to have designs for small capacity diesels on the drawing board, but not to be actively developing them.
It is likely to look into the Ford parts bin for the engine, assuming Jag negotiates a future supply contract once its imminent sell-off, most likely to Tata Motors, is completed.
Options include boosting the power of the 130bhp 2.0-litre Mondeo engine or the 152bhp 2.2-litre X-type diesel, although the latter is a PSA co-developed unit, which may complicate the chance of securing long-term supplies.
Despite lacking a four-cylinder diesel, the XF is expected to match the best sales of the outgoing S-type, between 10,000 and 12,000 units a year, according to managing director Geoff Cousins.
"Only about 30% of our sales are [to] fleets," he said. "If we had a small capacity diesel we could do more business with fleets."
Last year Jag allowed overall UK sales to drop 24% to 17,800 units. "We reduced our targets and hit our budget in the UK," said Cousins.
The bulk of UK XF sales will be diesels, taking around 70%. The three-litre V6 petrol will contribute about 10%.
S type revised
Jaguar cars announces the new Jaguar XF
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