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Tata backing fuels Jaguar growth

New kitten: Jaguar’s RD6 concept from 2003 was to have pointed to a new British small luxury car, but now such a vehicle – minus the S-Type styling – might finally happen.

'Clear path, long-term view, different culture' at Jaguar as small car, SUV shape up

Jaguar logo8 Feb 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO in CHICAGO

JAGUAR’S well-publicised plan to broaden its current range with all-new models such as a small sedan and crossover SUV would have been a “pipedream” under previous management, according to Jaguar Land Rover North America president Andy Goss.

Speaking at today’s Chicago motor show, Mr Goss affirmed the company’s plan to launch two new or revised models every year for the foreseeable future – one Jaguar and one Range Rover – would have been impossible without the ambition instilled by Indian owner Tata Motors.

Mr Goss said the British-based JLR was investing around $US3 billion per year in research and development, much of which goes towards a single new platform off which a range of Jaguar products will be based in the future.

In what could be construed as a dig at previous owner Ford, which sold JLR to Tata in 2008, Mr Goss said it was essential to set up proper long-term business “platforms” to help it play catch-up with Germany’s luxury car trio Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

“Ratan Tata has enabled the company to spend its own money, and enabled people to be ambitious and actually see the forest for the trees,” he said.

“There’s now a clear path, a long-term view and a different culture as a consequence of that. You know, some of these vehicles could not have been developed before.

“Effectively, every brand will bring out a car a year, so every six months there’ll be a new Jaguar or Land Rover from now on. That was a pipedream before, and now it’s true.

“Tata seem very long-term, they see this as a long-term investment. The new technologies in our cars, these are investments that you don’t get a quick return on, but they’re investments that Ratan Tata knows the organisation needs if it wants to start moving towards the three German brands.

“It can only do that by getting platforms right – I don’t mean the product platforms, but the platforms of how you do business, and that’s what’s happening now, but perhaps that wasn’t happening in the past.”

As reported, a small sedan will be first, with Mr Goss stating that “clearly it would make a lot of sense”.

“You know, if we want to try and ape the German brands, we recognise the model ranges they’ve got, that’s certainly on the agenda,” he said.

“It’s a big market for us – you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out it’s a great likelihood.

“We’ve got everything under our belt all the time ... Let’s find out where we can go. We’re focused on sedans and sportscars and further SUVs.”

When quizzed on further details regarding the Jaguar SUV, Mr Goss said such a vehicle would make “perfect sense”.

GoAuto expects the vehicle to share a platform with the compact sedan rather than a tough land Rover.

This follows comments from JLR’s global director of group sales operations Phil Popham in Australia last October, who told us the Jag could share some components with its sister company but “wouldn’t be based on a Land Rover”.

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