Jaguar last night was able to set aside talk of financial losses and a possible plant closure to unveil its long-awaited new flagship model, the XJ.
The new car, which is being built at Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant, is expected to set a new standard in luxury car design, technology and production that will leave rivals such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus struggling to catch up. And if the car is a successful as its smaller sister, the XF, has been since it was launched 18 months ago has been it should put a seal on Jaguar’s long term future.
Jaguar’s design team under the leadership of Ian Callum have come up with a bold design concept that represents a clean break with the recent past while leaving the new car immediately recognisable as a Jaguar.
The purists might not like it, but there again, they didn’t exactly rush to buy the retro-looking S Type, predecessor to the XF, which its designers hoped would cash in on the nostalgia for the classic Jaguars of the 1950s and ‘60s such as the MkII.
This time, Jaguar has opted for a clean break and has come up with a car that looks as though it belongs in the 21st century.
The company’s Indian owner, Tata Motors, can now see what it was getting for its money when it acquired the business from Ford last year.
Bearing in mind that the Government has so far not lifted a finger to help ensure Jaguar’s survival in one of the worst recessions in recent history, Tata’s willingness to continue pumping in the cash is vital.
But with the new XJ finally in the marketplace and with a new two-seater sportscar reportedly in the design stage, it should be money well spent.