Jaguars get AWD – but not at home image

Some important new models from Jaguar and Land Rover are being launched in Canada and although some of them will not be available in the UK they are very significant for the British company.

They open up market segments around the world JLR has been locked out of because it did not have a relevant model. New all-wheel-drive versions of the Jaguar XF and XJ mean that the brand can compete in the snow-belt regions of the United States where 80 per cent of premium saloon car sales have four-wheel-drive.

The new Jaguar models are being produced in left-hand-drive only and will also be available in Alpine regions of Europe and in China but unavailable in the home market. However, company insiders say that the technology will be available on all Jags should demand be there.

Land Rover’s 2013 model year Freelander is available with a 2-litre petrol engine for the first time which taps into a burgeoning market in China where engine sizes are being driven down by taxes on larger engines. However only diesels will be sold in the UK.

It is all part of a master plan. James Towle, Jaguar’s Global Brand Manager, said: “We have revitalised the model range in the past few years but that alone is not enough to drive the brand forward. We have to focus on what customers want in each individual market.”

This marks an end to a one-size-fits-all approach to JLR markets around the world, even though it adds complexity on the factory assembly line.

For example there will now be more than 50 possible variations of the XK when you factor in engines, trims and transmissions etc. advances in manufacturing techniques make this possible at more affordable prices than before.

Towle added: “We will not market all-wheel-drive Jaguars in the UK because the market for such demand premium vehicles is so small. It can be engineered for right-hand-drive but there is no point in doing that until the demand is there.

“From 2013 we will be focusing on customer satisfaction. We are already the number one brand in the UK according to the J D Power/What Car customer satisfaction survey and we have just achieved number two in the US behind Lexus. We have come right from the back of the pack and we have to stay there by giving people what they want.”