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Jaguar Oz licks its lips over potential small car

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.

Plans for baby Jaguar firm as British car-maker makes it a top priority

4 Dec 2012

JAGUAR Australia is hanging out for the next all-new model from the British marque’s development team – a sub-XF small luxury car to take on the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Although no timing or technical details have been given for the Jaguar cub, the company has confirmed in England that the smallest Jaguar is its main priority now that it has the F-Type on the way to showrooms from next year.

Jaguar Australia brand manager Mark Eedle said at this week’s 2013 XF Australian market launch in Sydney that a smaller addition to the line-up would be welcomed by the Australian Jaguar team and its dealers.

He said he could imagine “something to bring in the younger crowd” to Jaguar showrooms, perhaps in the mould of the RD6 concept shown by Jaguar at the Frankfurt motor show in 2003.

Mr Eedle might have given a clue to the final design of the new model when he said: “I would not want it to be a conventional three-box saloon – we have enough of them already.

“If we do do a smaller car, we should uphold Jaguar’s position of pushing the boundaries.”

 center imageFrom top: Jaguar's Mark Eedle Jaguar RD6 concept.

Mr Eedle said Jaguar was “obviously looking at the options” for the new model.

“We haven’t said what we are doing, but we have said we are looking at it,” he said.

Mr Eedle said it would make sense to derive more than one body style off a new platform, but that Jaguar would be unlikely to turn out as many models as some of its rivals.

“We don’t do everything,” he said. “We do a couple of things really well.

“I would like to think we would do multiple models, but not as many as other people.”

Britain’s Autocar today quoted Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark as saying a new Jaguar small car was a bigger priority than a crossover.

“A crossover would make more noise for us than a saloon, but we already have SUVs in the company and we’re not in a rush to add to that,” Mr Hallmark is reported to have said, apparently referring to the wide range of SUVs produced by Jaguar sister company Land Rover.

Mr Hallmark indicated the small car would come in a variety of styles and powertrains, saying: “You have to be flexible in that segment.” While the RD6 Concept revealed by Jaguar almost a decade ago looked like a scaled-down S-Type from the front, it was a five-door hatchback.

No one expects the styling to remain the same as that outdated Jaguar design language, but instead be moved into the new post-Ford era.

Another hangover from the Blue Oval ownership period might also bite the dust in a few years.

Jaguar Land Rover is building a new engine plant at Wolverhampton in England to build new-generation four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, possibly meaning the end of Ford-sourced engines such as the 2.0-litre EcoBoost unit just introduced in the XF and, in some markets such as China, XJ.

A new family of JLR-developed four-cylinder engines could not only power the new Jaguar small car and larger sedans, but also – potentially – an entry-level F-Type.

A smaller Jaguar would provide a major boost in showroom sales in Australia, where the medium-car luxury segment populated by cars such as the 3 Series and C-Class achieves four times as many sales as the luxury large-car segment where Jaguar’s current top-selling model, the XF, battles rivals such as the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Lexus GS.

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