Big hopes for smallest Jaguar

2012-06-04 08:35

The Jaguar F-Type, due to be unveiled in September and go on sale as soon as April 2013, will be Jaguar’s smallest car in more than 50 years.

Jaguar has harked back to its iconic E-Type roadster to challenge Mercedes and Porsche with its first two-seat sports car in almost 40 years in the hope of returning to its sport heritage after decades of luxury sedans.


Peter Schmidt, MD of Warwick, England-based Automotive Industry Data, told Bloomberg News:  "If the product can do what the original E-Type did for Jaguar, it will be a huge boost. What they're doing is laudable... it's good for the brand and it's good for the image but nobody should expect miracles."

The E-Type, introduced at the 1961 Geneva auto show, was described by Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari as "the most beautiful car ever built" and became synonymous with the England of the "Swingin’ Sixties" yet it has taken the $2.5-billion purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover by India's Tata Motors in 2008 for a sports model to return to favour.

Tata bought the two brands from Ford, combined them, and plans to invest $12-billion over five years to win a bigger slice of an upscale market dominated by German automakers.

Jaguar says the F-Type, a production version of its C-X16 concept car minus the hybrid engine, is more than just a marketing ploy.

"We're too small a company for it not to be a viable business proposition," spokesman Angus Fitton said. "It's got to pay for itself and generate profit but it has to do a brand-building job as well."

Jaguar, Bloomberg reports, has yet to say how much the F-Type will cost though the "speculated price" for the first variant, a convertible, is about $89 000 (about R700 000). Fitton says that puts it in a niche with little overlap on competitors' models and helping to reduce the average age of Jaguar's customer base.


The third generation of Porsche AG's Boxster roadster went on sale in Germany in May, 2012 at $62 800 (about R500 000) while the Carrera Cabriolet, the least expensive convertible among the company's 911 range, sells for about $124 200 (close to R1-million).

The F-Type, Bloomberg says, will also sit between the Mercedes SLK roadster and SL and Audi’s TT Roadster and the R8 Spyder. BMW's only two-seat convertible is the Z4.

Jaguar's current range is based on three models, two of them sedans, with the XJ challenging BMW’s 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class and the mid-range XF the 5 Series and E-Class.

The third model, the XK, is available as a four-seat convertible and was regarded as the closest thing to an E-Type successor when it was introduced in 1996 to replace the XJS, which replaced the E-Type in 1975.

The new Jaguar will have a three-litre supercharged V6 tuned to either 250 or 280kW and later with a five-litre V8, according to Fitton. Top speed will be 250km/h and it will remain a two-seater.

  • TawwaTienie - 2012-06-05 11:40

    'n Huis se prys

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