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US:Jaguar considers expanding line; sport wagon on list of possible vehicles

Jaguar considers expanding line; sport wagon on list of possible vehicles

MARK RECHTIN | Automotive News

DETROIT - Purists may gasp, but Jaguar is looking at building a sport wagon.

Jaguar Cars has built its heritage creating beautiful, fast sedans and coupes. Never has the legendary English marque made a family hauler.

But it might. While no decision has been made, Jaguar and Premier Automotive Group executives say such a vehicle could reach production. The rationale: Fish where the fish are.

Joe Greenwell, Jaguar Cars CEO, has directed chief designer Ian Callum "to think of what might be important to the market yet still reflect Jaguar's core product characteristics."

"Sir William Lyons was not bound by segments," Greenwell said of Jaguar's founder in an interview at the Detroit auto show. "But Jaguar needs to be true to itself. Whatever it is, it cannot be a me-too product. A Jaguar must always be beautiful, powerful and glamorous."

Affecting Jaguar's decision is the reality of the luxury market. As consumers drift from sedans to crossover vehicles, Jaguar should consider following them, said Phil Hodgkinson, Jaguar Cars programs director.

"Everyone is offering more choices. The Jaguar brand can go even further," Hodgkinson said.

Jaguar's U.S. sales fell 16.1 percent in 2004 to 45,875.

The main barrier to expanding the product line is money, executives say. Jaguar scarcely has the r&d funds to redesign its product line, let alone expand it.

"If you had unlimited funds, there's lots of room for lots of things," said Mark Fields, PAG chairman. "But given our current condition, our first and primary focus is stabilizing the business and working with what we have."

Also, Fields says that people haulers from PAG siblings Volvo and Land Rover diminish the need for a Jaguar crossover vehicle. If he had a choice, he'd prefer to see a two-seat roadster along the lines of the now-dead F-Type concept.

Then again, Jaguar could create any type of vehicle, no matter how cleverly, and the media might still tar it with the crossover label, Hodgkinson admitted.

"It's more about how we interpret it and present it," Hodgkinson said. "I have no problem with what Porsche did with the Cayenne. It has served them quite well."

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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