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UK: Jaguar goes for profit rather than volume

Source: editorial team

Refinement and rarity will drive the success of the new XK coupe and convertible, according to Jaguar managing director Bibiana Boerio.

Boerio said the company last year decided to improve unit profitability and while this had seen a decline in registrations, particularly in the US, it has lead to improved earnings and meant its models acquired a greater rarity value as well.

Since first details of the new XK were released in August 2005, the Ford unit has taken 1,500 orders in the UK and a total of 4,000 worldwide, Boerio said.

The global market for premium sports cars has doubled since 1999 and is now close 100,000 annually. The US is expected to take 40% of XK sales, twice as many as the UK.

“We believe there is something beneficial in being exclusive and this car will provide that.

“We are also looking at other small markets, such as China, where the profitability is two or three times better than in, say, the US.

“The arrival of the XK will be very good for our strategic plan.”

Boerio added that part of the new profit-focused thinking was an emphasis on models which were in greatest demand and this would be reflected in everything from the top end X-Type to the new XK series.

The XK goes on sale in the UK March, reaches the US in April and also begins deliveries in Europe about the same time.

Although reluctant to forecast likely XK sales, Boerio said they would be more modest than for the current series, but with greater profitability.

The redesigned XK includes among its engine choices a 300bhp 4.2-litre petrol V8 built in Ford’s Bridgend engine plant –shared with the XJ sedan and Range Rover models – which makes a more sporty sound as engineers developed a ‘bark-box’ which collects sounds from the inlet tracts and feeds them along a tube to the front bulkhead where they resonate while special valves in the exhaust give the emitted vibrations a deeper note as well.

The convertible is not a folding steel roof. Instead, Jaguar has stuck with fabric - a multi-layered electric roof with glass rear window which opens or closes in around 18 seconds.

Available equipment includes keyless entry and start, cruise control, bi-zenon lights, touch-screen Bluetooth compatible info-centre, sat nav, six-disc MP3 player, electronic parking brake and rear parking sensors.

Both body styles will be launched simultaneously in the UK at GBP58,995 (coupe) and GBP64,955 (convertible).
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