The Cars (and Men) That Can Revive Jaguar and Land Rover
No one gave Jaguar and Land Rover much of a chance back in 2008, when Ford had to jettison them in order to keep the lights on in Dearborn, yet they have not only survived, they've thrived. New owner Tata Motors of India wisely provided JLR the necessary resources to create great vehicles and then stayed out of the way while a blue-chip management team and an inspired workforce in Britain churned out the all-new Range Rover Evoque along with brilliantly reimagined classics like the Jaguar XJ and the Range Rover. JLR is now selling more than 350,000 vehicles globally each year, results that Ford could never have imagined. All indications point to further success: here's an exclusive preview of what's expected from JLR between 2014 and 2020.
Jaguar recently rolled out the F-type coupe (above) and intends to keep interest in the model from flagging by introducing at least one additional engine, important tech item, or body-style variation every year. Future derivatives include a coupe with a carbon-fiber roof, carbon-ceramic brakes, and the R's 550-hp, 5.0-liter supercharged V-8; available all-wheel drive for most models from 2016 onward; an F-type Speedster inspired by the Project 7 concept; a new entry-level model initially powered by the same high-performance 300-hp, 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder earmarked for the Evoque R-S; a limited run of fifty or so 600-hp GT coupe street racers; and, of course, a midcycle face-lift or two. The ultimate hotshoe editions will be prepared by JLR's own ETO division -- Engineered To Order. Insiders are predicting three different ETO tuning stages badged R, R-S, and GT.
XF Mid-size Sedan
There are no major strategic or engineering changes in the works here, but expect improved space utilization, refinement, and efficiency when the next-generation XF appears by 2016. Product planners are moving the midliner closer to the XJ, which itself will eventually be pushed further upmarket. Despite the elevated positioning, the model mix is bound to reflect the growing demand for frugal four-cylinder engines. Still, we wouldn't rule out brawny R-S and GT versions delivering 550 and 600 hp. All-wheel drive is again an option, the updated ZF autobox will feature nine forward ratios, and the next-generation touchscreen infotainment system is said to be significantly more intuitive.
XR Gran Turismo
Right now, the F-type and the XK are uncomfortably close in terms of pricing and performance. What to do? Push the XK replacement upmarket, obviously. That car, due in 2017, will be built on a significantly stretched F-type platform. The XK name may give way to XR, and while the price difference over a comparable F-type will probably double, the bigger grand tourer (hardtop and convertible) would still be positioned well below the likes of a Bentley Continental GT, an Aston Martin DB9, or a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Since size, style, and packaging will set the new two-plus-two clearly apart from the two-seat
F-type, the bigger model could be offered with V-6 engines in a move to boost appeal, volume, and profit. Still, the XR hardtop, seen here in an artist's interpretation, would be markedly more dynamic in looks and character than the two-door XJ positioned about $20K above it.
Q-type Compact sedan
The C-X17 concept (right) that recently kick-started speculation about Jaguar's intentions in the 3-series/A4/C-class bracket was a crossover, but the first Jaguar in that class will be a four-door sedan. Due in 2015, the Q-type range is derived from the same matrix as the Range Rover/Sport and the high-end Jaguars. The eventual Q/XQ output is planned to be 150,000 units per year, which would require further proliferation. There will be an XQ crossover and a four-seat coupe (in 2016) aimed at the BMW 4-Series, with a softtop to follow in 2017. The British media are also predicting a station wagon, but this variant is said to be a low priority due to its limited appeal outside of Europe. Even though the new architecture can accommodate a wide variety of powerplants, including hybrids, it seems that the only immediate innovation under the hood is a new four-cylinder engine family.
XJ Full-size Coupe and Sedan
The styling of the current Jaguar XJ may be polarizing, but it garnered enough attention to get Jaguar back on the shopping lists of trendy, well-heeled Anglophiles. With that accomplished, the next XJ -- imagined below -- can get a prettier rear end and a less controversial greenhouse. Jaguar designers have moved closer to a three-box theme, but despite the more classic proportions, the next XJ -- which could arrive as late as 2018 -- looks encouragingly dynamic, stylish, and lavish. There will again be two wheelbase options: a roomy standard sedan and a stretched version that's even more spacious. Jaguar management is also close to green-lighting an XJ-based four-place coupe that is said to be breathtaking. The pillarless coupe harks back to the XJ6 and XJ12 coupes and would be out in 2019. Although no softtop is planned, the coupe range would span a relatively affordable S version with a V-6 as well as a seriously bold 650-hp, V-8-powered GT.
By 2020, European Union legislation will call for more stringent average CO2 emissions across carmakers' model ranges. This is a problem for JLR, maker of sports cars and SUVs powered primarily by supercharged V-6 and V-8 gasoline engines. With an even tougher post-2020 limit to be initiated next year, JLR has no choice but to act. Electric vehicles? Not really. Hybrids? Yes, but not in big numbers. Diesel engines? More of those, sure, but that won't be enough. Small cars, then, will be the way out of the emissions dilemma. Like its German competitors, JLR is pondering a batch of compact vehicles. They would be front-wheel drive with an AWD option for LR/RR, they'd have four-cylinder engines, and they would almost certainly incorporate elements of the aluminum-
intensive premium lightweight architecture (PLA) masterminded by Jaguar and Range Rover. The first of these micro fuel misers, a four-door crossover (previewed in the illustration at right), would be sufficiently flexible to be sold by both Jag and Land Rover, sources say. Apparently, the biggest challenge for a Jaguar or a Land Rover writ small is not design or driving character -- it's profitability. But that's one challenge the automaker will need to solve by 2020.
Although it's long gone from U.S. shores, the iconic Defender soldiers on back home, but the end will come in 2015. Its replacement will use a decontented Range Rover architecture, making it much lighter, stronger, and more efficient. Appearance-wise, the next Defender will take certain cues from the pretty DC100 design exercises, one of which is shown below. Streamlined assembly, standardized componentry, and a new upgradable common electronic platform are believed to be key cost-saving factors. We would expect the new Defender to reach the market in 2019.
Small SUV Project
In view of the fast-growing global demand for entry-level SUVs priced between $20K and $30K, JLR is toying with a complete range of FWD/AWD compact crossovers. According to two separate sources, the small Landie -- previewed above by our illustrator -- and the small Jaguar crossover described on the previous page share the same DNA and the same still-to-be-determined production facility -- be it in China, India, Saudi Arabia, or Brazil. All three brands could be involved in this venture: Land Rover serving the purists, Range Rover creating a kind of premium Road Rover, and Jaguar catering to the speed-and-sport fraternity. Within this still-unresolved framework, there is scope for several body-style variants. Expect the first to be out by 2020.
Launched for 2012, the stylish Evoque has been a highly profitable image-maker. The replacement, due in 2019, will be twinned with the new LR2. But there's also more -- such as a larger derivation, which may gain the Grand suffix when it appears in late 2016. The luxurious high-end Evoque will be significantly pricier than the base models and built on the PLA architecture, making it capable of accommodating V-6 engines. To be positioned between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport, the new model could either be a trendy five-seat coupe or a high-style seven-seater, as forecast above.
The LR2 and the Evoque account for more than half of the brand's 300,000 worldwide annual sales, and they will remain exceptions to the new one-system-serves-all product strategy, as they will retain their Ford-sourced underpinnings. The next LR2 will be even more closely related to the Evoque for improved production synergies. The new LR2 will probably be renamed Discovery Sport when it goes on sale in 2015. The first spy pictures show a more modern low-drag nose, a more rugged plan view, and chunky protection elements designed for serious off-road use. Supplementing the standard version is a long-wheelbase seven-seater known internally as Discovery Grand, which will debut in late 2016 or early 2017. The mainstay engines are going to be the new four-cylinder units sourced from the $800 million Wolverhampton facility.
The LR4, which now rides on an ancient, superheavy ladder frame, will shed hundreds of pounds when it eventually switches to the ubiquitous PLA component set. Engines will run the gamut from four-cylinder to V-6 to V-8, gasoline, diesel, and hybrid. The boxy Land Rover was first introduced for 2005 and so is due for renewal right about now; instead, we may see another face-lift and no replacement before 2016. Again priced near the Range Rover Sport, the next LR4 could revive the Discovery brand in America (it's still called Discovery in Europe), as JLR bigwigs view Discovery as the leisure pillar, whose mission it is to complement the luxury pillar (Range Rover) and the off-road pillar (Defender).
Range Rover/Range Rover Sport
The wraps are now off the long-wheelbase Range Rover, and the new RR Sport has gone on sale. Still in the works are two plug-in hybrids, the same engine and transmission modifications that are in store for Jaguar, and small batches of high-performance models like the 550-hp Range Rover Sport R-S due next year.
Jaguar Land Rover
Popham moved into a new role as global marketing boss this past fall as part of JLR's executive reshuffling (Goss now occupies his former sales position). Except for a fling with Volkswagen more than a decade ago, Popham is a Land Rover lifer, joining as a trainee in 1988.
Jaguar Land Rover
Sales Operations Director
JLR sales are on the upswing in the United States, and Goss had been the front man for the brands' return to prominence. The U.S. unit's success caught the attention of JLR brass, who promoted him to global sales chief. He previously was a senior executive at Toyota and Porsche.
Jaguar Land Rover
Chief Executive Officer
Speth, who has led JLR since 2010, started at BMW in 1980 and eventually rose to vice president of Land Rover (then owned by BMW). He's also been a top executive for Ford's former Premier Automotive Group. Fittingly for his current job, he owns a vintage Jaguar E-type.
Jaguar Land Rover
Director of Engineering
Ziebart joined JLR in August, bringing a rare blend of electronics expertise and car-guy credentials. He spent twenty-three years at BMW, where he worked on the 3-series platform and electrical engineering before rising to product boss. He later led semiconductor producer Infineon.
Land Rover Design Director
McGovern is the man who has modernized Land Rover's image with vehicles such as the compact Evoque. He has been at the helm of Land Rover design since 2006. Before that, the dapper McGovern led Lincoln-Mercury design. During an earlier stint at Rover, he designed the Freelander and the MGF sports car.
Jaguar Design Director
Few men embody the modern spirit of Jaguar better than Callum, who has led its
design since 1999. While the brand has weathered tough times, he has cultivated a romantic yet modern image for Jaguar. The XK, XF, XJ, and F-type were crafted under his steady eye.