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View Full Version : Very insightful article on Jaguars progress as well as the demise of the Ftype



JBsC5
06-05-2002, 09:06 AM
Britain entered WWII as an economic powerhouse, a major player on the world stage, the master of a vast colonial empire. She emerged bloodied, battered and broke. The Empire was going, going, gone. Industry struggled with the transition from a war to a peacetime economy. Rationing continued. In 1948, into this fug of austerity, Jaguar launched the XK120. The impossibly glamorous two-seater combined world-beating performance with everyday practicality and sublime comfort. The XK120 marked the end of one era, and the beginning of another. It made Jaguar rich and millions of people proud to be British.

In the early sixties, Britain was on its uppers. The Winter of Discontent was no more than a chill breeze. The turgid class system was alive and well, but cracks were beginning to appear. Teenage culture was in first flower. One year into this new decade, Jaguar launched another car that tapped into and distilled the national gestalt: the E-Type Series I. The E-Type was a sensationally sexy, supremely capable automobile that a great many "average" enthusiasts could afford. As the Austin Powers movies demonstrate (ad nauseum), the E-Type embodied all that was fun and funky about the era. The car re-invigorated Jaguar, and made millions of people proud to be British.

Then...

And then… what? The E-Type died of obesity. The Mk2 marked the start of Jaguar's foray into mechanically dubious "fat blokes" cars, culminating in the 1970's era XJ12 luxobarge. Fortunately, when the big Jags weren't languishing in the repair shop, they managed to live up to their founder's ideal of "grace and pace". Unfortunately, the company's attempts to make a credible sports car weren't. Browns Lane had turned its back on high performance motoring. The factory-sponsored racing programme, an effort that had sealed the XK and E-Type's reputation, was a distant memory. The leaping cat had become a lounge lizard.

Thanks to years of mismanagement, poor build quality, crap dealers and a dull product range; Jaguar found itself unable to fend off Ford's attentions. Under the Blue Oval, the XJ saloon lost its digital dash, regained its sensuous curves and added reliability. Die-hard fans of the marque eagerly awaited the first all-new, Ford-sponsored Jag: the XK8. Would Jaguar finally be true to its pedigree and build a genuine sports car? No. The XK8 was big, bold and beautiful. It was also expensive, overweight and ungainly.

S Type

Then we had the S-Type, a less than aesthetically delightful move sideways from the XJ. Next up: the X-Type, a timid, cynical move downwards ("Premium" Automotive Group indeed). But there was still hope that Ford-owned Jaguar hadn't lost sight of its roots: the F-Type.

The F-Type had a real shot at putting Jaguar back on top. The car was due to feature a mid-mounted V6. In supercharged form, the engine would have pumped out 330bhp. An aluminium chassis clad with steel panels would have delivered a devastating power-to-weight ratio. Independent coil-sprung suspension on all four corners would have given the F-Type sufficient poise for a bit of Boxster-bashing. Throw in a gorgeous shape, reliability, a decent boot and a decent sticker price, and the F-Type could have been the car of the noughties. It certainly would have made enthusiasts proud to be British.

Nooo

Alas, no. Ford spiked the F-Type. The bean counters decided that shovelling diesel engines into the XJ, S-Type and X-Type, and transforming the X-Type into a Labrador lugger, is a better investment than building a new, affordable sports car. Porsche, the world's most profitable carmaker (per vehicle), sells some 28,000 Boxsters per year. Yet Ford couldn't see the "business case" for building a car that would sell in similar volumes. Are these the same accountants who decided it's OK for Jaguar to ****-away the equivalent of Belize's GNP on Formula One?

Killing the F-Type is a shocking miscalculation. The X-Type's raison d'etre- reflected by their "new generation" ads- was to bring younger customers to the marque. In reality, the X-Type is a scaled down replica of the XJ that appeals to middle-aged customers who can't afford the real thing. Compared to the F-Type, the X-Type has about as much youthful appeal as a Hollywood star on her fourth facelift. In the battle for the hearts and dimes of tomorrow's drivers, well, let's put it this way: you won't see a poster of an X-Type on the bedroom walls of a teenage enthusiast. The F-Type would have had pride of place next to Britney, Jordan and David.

Independence?

When Ford gobbled-up Jaguar, both companies dismissed claims that Jaguar had lost its independence. Executives swore on their expense accounts that Ford would simply extend Jaguar's ability to follow its own, uniquely British automotive destiny. Ford would respect Jaguar's traditions of craftsmanship, engineering innovation and pedal-to-the-metal excitement. Now we know the truth. And it makes me ashamed to be American

J. Christian
06-05-2002, 09:46 PM
AMEN!!! As part of this "new generation," I was very interested in the new F-type. My Series II XJ6 has much more class than the newer cars, and is much more affordable. The X-type is a decent car for what it is, but the F-type could have changed my generation's view of Jaguar as a rich old man's car. I hope that you sent a copy of your article to Ford.

78Z
06-06-2002, 11:14 AM
The F-Type would have been great but it was cancelled because of Ford's problem's (not Jags). I agree on the X-Type point but I actually really like the new S-Type.

XJRpilot
06-06-2002, 12:36 PM
AMEN, as well. rightly put. i could not have said it better. the f-type should have been produced.
jaguar would have put a dent in the porsche boxster sales. it was truly a pinup car. it would have sold well and put jaguar over the top. but like you said: noooo. ford screwed up. perhaps we should be happy jaguar is still around.
graemlins/cheers.gif for your post!!

78Z
06-06-2002, 02:06 PM
I think Ford deserves a world of credit for improving quality as well as getting some new cars produced. All have been good quality and true to Jaguar heritage except the X-Type. But for Ford to be so short sighted as to cancel the F-Type which would have sold and probably made money is nuts. Jaguars higher end cars are getting a bit old now and a new product would have been welcome.

jagxke46
06-07-2002, 12:04 PM
I am also dissapointed about F-Type...instead of bitchin to each other, maybe all Jag lovers should express our sentiments by letters or E-Mail to Ford Jaguar. Probably won't hope, but I remember 1968 lettes to Star Trek kept the show on air after cancellation. Any thoughts on how to organize this?

jagxke46
06-07-2002, 12:04 PM
I am also dissapointed about F-Type...instead of bitchin to each other, maybe all Jag lovers should express our sentiments by letters or E-Mail to Ford Jaguar. Probably won't hope, but I remember 1968 lettes to Star Trek kept the show on air after cancellation. Any thoughts on how to organize this?

jagxke46
06-07-2002, 12:05 PM
I am also dissapointed about F-Type...instead of bitchin to each other, maybe all Jag lovers should express our sentiments by letters or E-Mail to Ford Jaguar. Probably won't hope, but I remember 1968 lettes to Star Trek kept the show on air after cancellation. Any thoughts on how to organize this?

jagxke46
06-07-2002, 12:05 PM
I am also dissapointed about F-Type...instead of bitchin to each other, maybe all Jag lovers should express our sentiments by letters or E-Mail to Ford Jaguar. Probably won't hope, but I remember 1968 lettes to Star Trek kept the show on air after cancellation. Any thoughts on how to organize this?

J. Christian
06-09-2002, 10:26 AM
Ford doesn't have an email address on their website, but Jaguar does. jaguarowner@jaguar.com Wouldn't hurt to let them know how we feel.

Paul
06-11-2002, 06:32 PM
Ashamed to be an American......? Just remember the Germans now own Rolls/Bently and the Queen of transgressions, the Mini. Had Jag managed to keep up in 20th century they wouldn't be working for Detroit. Ford may have missed an opportunity but we are talking about cars. Paul. graemlins/patriot.gif