Jaguar has the chance to become the Ferrari of JLR’s business through a greater number of high-performance cars and advanced body and powertrain technologies, the company believes.
With the recent introduction of the XJR and XFR-S, the number of special performance derivatives in the range has risen to six, and there are more to come.
Meanwhile at Frankfurt the company is showing an SUV concept, the C-X17, which is based on all-new aluminium architecture that will underpin the next generation of Jaguars, starting with a compact saloon in 2015.
The BMW 3 Series-sized saloon will not only be the most efficient in class, the company claims, but will also be available in a high-performance version capable of 186mph.
Jaguar also has new four-cylinder engines under development, to be produced in a new factory in Wolverhampton from 2015, while within the JLR group there are now hybrid powertrains, revealed at Frankfurt in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
“Frankfurt is where Jaguar will re-establish itself as an engineering force as part of the plan to become profitable and more relevant,” one insider said. “The new architecture is an enabler which will allow a huge number of different itinerations. It’s much more than just a production system.”
Jaguar is spending £3 billion on product development this year – the same as last year and the same as it plans to spend in 2014.
“We are trying to achieve in five years what it took Audi 20 years to achieve,” the insider said. “But we will only ever produce cars which are relevant and profitable, and we cannot grow faster than our suppliers and recruitment allow.
“Today, brand is more important than ever before. If you think back to the period between 1950 and 1975, Jaguar was on the same buyer shortlists as Ferrari and Maserati. We believe we have the opportunity to do that again.”