Is the End Near for Jaguar X-type?

By: Mike Bartley

Earlier this year, Ford announced that they have sold majority of the luxury brand Aston Martin. Following the sale of the famous car brand, rumor has it that the Jaguar brand will be the next on the auction block as the Dearborn-based car manufacturer continues to battle losses in the market.

Although Ford has remained silent about the possibility of selling Jaguar off, a new rumor is milling around the auto industry which concerns the British luxury car brand. It seems that the restructuring plan taken by Jaguar will see the demise of the brand's flagship - the Jaguar X Type. The decision to cut the brand's best selling model may be a part of the new plan which focuses on lesser production but more profits. This strategy has already been seen by the auto industry being implemented by German car manufacturer Porsche.

For the past years, the Jaguar X Type may have earned the praise of automotive experts but has apparently not attracted the attention of car buyers. It can be remembered that Aston Martin was sold by the struggling Ford Motor Company since the company is undergoing restructuring plans which involves increasing their funds. After Aston Martin's departure, Jaguar is pushed as Ford's ultra luxury brand. This was seen by experts in the auto industry as a good sign for the British Jaguar.

This development though has not helped Jaguar as evident in its sales for the past months. Furthermore, the X-Type failed to generate interest among car buyers as much as the company hoped it would. Since its introduction in 2001, the X-Type has only managed to take away a small portion of the market away from the BMW 3 Series. In fact, the X-Type's ineffectiveness at generating interest in the brand is shown by the fact that it has failed to reach the goals set for it by Jaguar.

In its debut year, Jaguar expected to sell 170,000 units of the X-Type per year. Sadly for Jaguar though, the X-Type has even failed to reach its 100,000th sale.

The entry-level luxury car X-Type is derived from the Ford Mondeo vehicle and shares the same platform with it. The X-type is currently Jaguar's smallest sedan. The sedan is being produced at Jaguar's assembly facility in Halewood, England. According to the car company, the parts used on the assembly of the X-Type come from different sources. It was reported that ten percent of the parts used on the X-type are manufactured by Jaguar while twenty percent are from Ford. The rest are manufactured by different parts manufacturers. These parts can be replaced by aftermarket parts such as to enhance the sedan's performance.

Although the X-Type achieved a respectable success in the auto market, the model has not succeeded in turning a profit for Jaguar which Ford badly needs at this point in time. In response to talks that the X-Type may be taken out of Jaguar's lineup, Jaguar Australia's Managing Director David Blackhall has this to say: "The plan in relation to the X-Type is not resolved. There are a number of studies underway in the UK, and a number of alternatives are being considered - including doing nothing at all."

If indeed the X-Type is cut from Jaguar's lineup, Jaguar Australia will be affected negatively. Last year, the company sold 1,071 units of Jaguar X-Types in the said country.

While the X-Type may be cut from Jaguar's lineup, there is good news for the company in the form of the Jaguar XF. This particular model may be what could save Jaguar from further losses. Talking about the XF, Blackhall has this to say: "Without talking too much about our future product plans, there are a lot of variations on this (XF) theme. There's also a much more robust engine strategy with (the XF) than in the past." Blackhall also pointed out the company's expectation for the XF by saying that: "We see this car multiplying itself in a way that the previous S-Type was unable to, and therefore accessing different niches in the market and adding to our volume base, which we see substituting somewhat for the X-Type. I'm not saying the two cars appeal to the same customer, but perhaps as we de-emphasize X-Type a bit, (XF) fills the gap to some degree."

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