The unveiling of the new supercharged Jaguar XFR at the Detroit Motor Show may seem like an odd piece of timing.
With the luxury car maker currently trying to convince the government that it is worthy of financial assistance during the credit crunch, there will be those opposed to any such support who will see the new model with its five-litre V8 and a top speed of 225mph as little more than a vanity project and out of step with current consumer and environmental realities. On the face of it they may have a point.
The XFR will certainly have very little sales impact for Jaguar. It is a special car that will come with a significant price tag and there will no doubt be a market for it even during the current economic downturn but it has not been designed to make any serious impact on Jaguar’s main sales. But that’s not the point of the XFR.
Jaguar Land Rover’s best hope in securing financial aid from the government comes from its commitment to R&D.
While the government may be nervous about the precedent it may set in helping out an individual manufacturer - even if it does support up to 100,000 jobs - the Prime Minister, his Chancellor and Business Secretary are well aware of the contribution JLR makes in helping the UK retain its position as a world leader in hi-tech engineering.
If the UK was to lose JLR, the effect not just on jobs but also on its reputation for potential investors would be cataclysmic.
Jaguar is already leading the charge in green automotive technology and it will undoubtedly have to evolve to remain relevant in the coming decades as society faces up to issues such as increasing congestion and global warming but today it is important to show the world that when it comes to pushing the boundaries, there are few who do it better than Jaguar.