PARIS – With the F-Type sports car and the new Range Rover, Jaguar Land Rover uses the auto show here to publicly challenge the German premium auto makers.
The F-Type “is the first product from a new investment strategy,” says Adrian Hallmark, global brand director for Jaguar. And the strategy is to grow “from a niche player to a global significant force.”
Ratan, chairman of India’s Tata group that owns JLR, is attending the Paris show for the first time, although he has brought Tata Motors to the Geneva show for years. Asked if he believes JLR can challenge , he answers, “I didn’t say that.”
The high-end German makers emphasize their brands’ German origins in their marketing, and JLR has taken a page from that book.
Hallmark, his Land Rover counterpart John Edwards and JLR CEO Ralf Speth reference “British” many times, as in “quintessentially British” and “James Bond and Land Rover are British superbrands.”
says after the presentations, “We are proud of the British heritage.” He says JLR and its parent company are working well together, but the investment money that has given JLR its new ambition doesn’t come from India.
“Money is global,” Tata says. “The product is global, and the market is global. Where the money comes from is not important. What is important is where the passion comes from.”
Speth says JLR sales are up 40 % this year.
The F-Type returns Jaguar to the fullsize sports car segment. The E-Type in the 1960s made Jaguar an international household name, and the new car is an attempt to bring back that halo.
The F-Type will come with three supercharged gasoline engines making 340 hp, 380 hp and 495 hp, giving the car top speeds of 162 mph (260 km/h), 171 mph (275 km/h) and 186 mph (300 km/h), respectively.
“It is a vivid symbol of our future ambitions,” Hallmark says.
The Range Rover on display at the show is all-new, with an all-aluminum body in white.
Investment in the project was €1.3 billion ($1.7 billion), including €500 million ($650 million) for the factory with its aluminum body shop. JLR has signed a multiyear agreement with Novelis, the aluminum-sheet supplier, for both supply and for a closed-loop scrap-recycling system.
The Range Rover is in its fourth iteration. Previous models launched in 1970, 1991 and 2001. The aluminum structure is 924 lbs. (420 kg) lighter than the third-generation Range Rover, and the auto maker is trying to market the SUV as more comfortable and shorter than a premium sedan.
Next year, a diesel hybrid engine will be available that emits just 170 g/km of carbon-dioxide, the equivalent of 37 mpg (6.4 L/100 km), brand director Edwards says.