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Jag not for sale

2006-02-01 07:55

The new Jaguar XK coupe represents the way forward for Jaguar design, says PAG boss Lewis Booth

John Oxley

Rumours have abounded in the past year or so linking Jaguar to other key players in the global motor industry.

Most recent was Renault - which needs a separate luxury brand to boost its image at the top end of the market - but reports indicate that any attempts to buy Jaguar were rebuffed.

Booth, in South Africa for the world launch of the new Jaguar XK coupe, told me Jaguar is doing very well, thank you, with record sales last year - up 43% on 2004 - while two of the other three PAG brands, Land Rover (up 36%) and Volvo (up 33%) are also enjoying huge sales success.

The fourth PAG brand, Aston Martin, had its second-best year to date, despite supply constraints.

Design story

"As far as Jaguar is concerned I can't tell you exactly what is coming, but if you look at the new XK you will see how we are starting to move the Jaguar design story forward, " he said.

"We have spent too much time reliving our history - what comes next will be distinctly Jaguar, but it will be a modern Jaguar.

"The XK and its presence on the road is an indicator of what lies ahead.

"The message I have for the Jaguar team is to keep delivering cars as great as the XK and we will have a great future.

"We will fix Jaguar".

As far as other brands in the PAG were concerned, he said giant strides had been achieved with Land Rover quality as a result of the launch of the new Discovery and Range Rover, as well as the Range Rover Sport, the latter commanding long waiting lists.


Left, Lewis Booth pictured in Cape Town

 

The next stage in the Land Rover story would be a new Freelander.

"There will be a new Freelander towards the end of this year, and it will be a major step forward for the business, with modern architecture and a fantastic driving experience."

Although Booth would not be drawn on a date for the launch of the new car, it would be reasonable to expect that the Freelander would be shown at the London Motor Show in July.

He said the way forward for PAG would be about great products.

"We had a very good show in Detroit (Motor Show) where we saw the Volvo C70 and the C30 concept, as well as the Jaguar XK convertible and the Aston Martin Rapide concept.

"We all talk about brands, costs and business structures, but long-term the only thing that wins in this business is a steady flow of great products which speak about the brands they come from.

"This year we will see as many as eight new products from Ford Europe and 12 new PAG models. That's the way forward".

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