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Editor/Photographer : Mark Charles
March 28 2008
Jaguar aims for 100,000 under Tata management
Jaguar's near-term production future is forecast to climb back towards 100,000 cars under Tata Motors' management, adding a gloss to the Indian company's take-over announced earlier this week.
Last year Jag production dipped to a low of 54,000, partly because of the change-over from S-type to XF, but also because of the continuing slow-selling X-type. In 2006, it made 70,000 cars.
Forecasts compiled by just-auto map out Jag's production future for its four main models - the X-type, XF, XK and XJ - and foresee volume rising to a more sustainable number closer to the magical 100,000 mark.
Possible new models in the Jag product plan, which await the green light from Tata, could further lift this figure towards 150,000 by 2012/2013.
In the near term, the biggest volume lift will come from the new XF launched this year whose production in 2008 will contribute a first full year forecast of around 60,000 units. Last year Jag built 2,000 XFs in readiness for this month's market launch.
That means the hugely significant XF will add around 45,000 units to the company's overall figures as it replaces the S-type, whose production had dipped to around 15,000 in its run-out year.
After producing over-optimistic forecasts in the product planning for the latest XJ saloon, Jaguar is predicting more realistic figures for the dramatically re-skinned version, X351, on sale late in 2009.
These are, nevertheless, a considerable increase on the current running volume of the XJ, showing Jag has great confidence in its revamped four-door.
The new XJ is being planned with volume of 20,000 units a year, double the 10,000 the model has achieved in recent years. Originally, the alloy-bodied XJ was planned at around 32,000 units.
Jag's XK sportscar now equals the XJ saloon in volume, hitting 11,000 units in 2007, a drop on the 14,000 it achieved in its launch years.
To keep interest up, Jag revealed a limited run XKR-S at last month's Geneva show featuring a de-restricted 175mph top speed, mainly for the German market.
Jag boss Mike O'Driscoll reported strong interest from US dealers.
"I think we'll do it for the US," he said.
And, late next year, the XK range gets a new five-litre direct-injection V8.
The future of the X-type is still in the balance, but investment plans by Land_Rover for its Halewood factory in 2011/12 almost certainly mean the X-type currently built there will run-out in 2010.
Last year a model originally planned at 120,000 units dropped to just 20,000. Sales were higher at 23,300, reflecting the retailing of cars built the previous year.
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