Jaguar has revealed the name of its all-new, compact sports sedan which will go on sale in the middle of 2001: The X-Type. Internally referred to as ‘X400′, the 4-door X-Type will challenge the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series. This is the first time that the British carmaker is entering the highly competitive and fast-growing segment.
For the first time on a Jaguar, all-wheel drive will be a standard feature of the drivetrain, endowing the new car with responsive and sporting driving dynamics. It will be available with either 2.5-litre or 3.0-litre V6 engine, both derived from the AJ-V6 powertrain already being used in the larger Jaguar S-Type. Although Jaguar is a part of the Ford group and can benefit from sharing components, it is believed that one of the decisions made in the development of this model was to have more differentiation in the car and not have too many visibly similar parts (eg switches, controls, etc) to Ford models.
The stylish, contemporary yet distinctive shape, unmistakably identifying it as a Jaguar, with a richly-crafted interior where traditional materials blend with modern technological innovation. The overall feeling of sporting luxury is complemented by the practicality of the generously proportioned interior and boot space.
The new X-Type will be positioned below Jaguar’s S-Type range in both size and price. It is aimed at a new generation of younger customers, appealing to a broad spectrum of customers.
With the addition of this model, Jaguar will have four model lines, accelerating its transformation from a niche player into a major competitor in the premium car segment. Fuelled by the success of S-Type, Jaguar today is selling at record levels around the globe. This year, over 85,000 cars will be sold worldwide. When the X-Type is in full production, it is expected to more than double Jaguar’s total sales.
Designed and developed at Jaguar’s Whitley Engineering Centre in England, the X-Type will be produced at Jaguar’s Halewood plant, also in England. The new plant is currently in the throes of a massive transformation, which embraces every aspect of the business. “Green Blood” training (green being the traditional colour of the brandmark) for all employees is well under way, helping them to absorb the Jaguar culture and working processes. A major plant redevelopment program has already begun in preparation for the start of production in the first quarter of next year.
Commenting on the new model, Jonathan Browning, Jaguar’s Managing Director said: “As the smallest and most affordable model in the range, the X-Type challenges existing perceptions about Jaguar. Designed to appeal to a new generation of customers, the X-Type exemplifies Jaguar’s new performance spirit, offering a fresh, contemporary expression of Jaguar values in a compact, stylish sports sedan.”
More details will only be revealed in early 2001 at the North American Autoshow.