PARIS – In order to expedite a Jaguar Cars turnaround, Ford Motor Co. is looking to reap more of the brand's revenue from its home turf.

“The U.S. is our largest market for all of our (Premier Automotive Group) brands and clearly with the exchange rate, despite our hedging policies, it hurts us to one degree or another,” PAG chief Mark Fields tells Ward’s in an exclusive interview at the auto show here.

All four PAG brands – Volvo, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover – are based in Europe, build all their vehicles in Western Europe and are struggling with a strong euro vs. the dollar.

"The more we can match our cost with our revenues – meaning the more sales we can get in Europe – the better," Fields says. “We can't just sit there and say ‘Woe is us, our excuse is exchange.’ We've got to focus on the things we can control. One of the ways we can do that is try and rebalance revenue (by generating) more revenue in Europe, for example.”

Jaguar will bank on diesels.

The auto maker’s first move in boosting European sales will be to tack two more diesel engines onto its European option list by the second half of 2005.

The XJ sedan will get a premium diesel mill in order to compete with similar powertrain options in the BMW 7-Series and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, while the X-Type will adopt a performance-oriented diesel.

European customers have been buying diesel-powered vehicles at a consistent clip in recent years, prompting Fields to admit Jaguar missed the boat by not having enough diesel offerings to coincide with the boom.

The X-Type adopted a base diesel engine last year, followed by the introduction of a diesel S-Type.

Ford will build Jaguar’s forthcoming diesels, Fields says. In its S-Type sedan, Jaguar utilizes a 2.7L V-6 torque-rich twin-turbodiesel Ford developed jointly with PSA Peugeot Citroen.

The engine has met critical acclaim thus far, Fields says, and likely will power the X-Type.

jstoll@primediabusiness.com