Jag one while you can

The new Jaguars will cost more than dou­ble, writes PAULGOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

BUY­ING a new Jaguar in Aus­tralia is about to get a lot more ex­pen­sive. More than dou­ble, in fact. The jump will come at the end of the year when to­day’s start­ingprice Jaguar, the X-Type, dies.

The move means the cheapest Jaguar will be the XF V6, from $108,350, against a 2.1-litre X-Type around $50,000.

The head of Jaguar Land Rover Aus­tralia, David Black­hall, says: ‘‘You are not go­ing to get a $49,990 drive­way X-Type for much longer. It’s just one of those things.’’

The X-Type is be­ing killed de­spite strong sales around the world in­clud­ing Aus­tralia — where it some­times makes up as much as half the num­bers — as Jaguar clears space to rein­tro­duce a sports car that will re­vive the spirit of the 1960s E-Type.

It also helps that the X-Type was re­ally only ever a Ford Mon­deo clone with a Jaguar’s leap­ing cat on the bon­net.

‘‘It has worked for us. In terms of the im­age, I’m not sure it dam­aged us dra­mat­i­cally,’’ Black­hall says.

‘‘They saw it as truly a Jaguar. Many of the own­ers felt they truly got their hands on a Jaguar.

‘‘It’s been some­where be­tween 30 and 40 per cent of the sale vol­ume. To sum ev­ery­thing up, it’s worked for us.’’

The X-Type was an in­tro­duc­tion to Jaguar in many coun­tries, but Black­hall says it worked at the op­po­site end of the scale Aus­tralia.

‘‘It’s a self-re­ward for some­one com­ing out of their mort­gage. They are go­ing to re­tire and buy their life’s dream,’’ he says.

‘‘The av­er­age age skews higher than the XF. The XF is around 49 and the X-Type is in the 60s.

‘‘Our sales pat­tern shows it has brought peo­ple to the brand. But I don’t see a lot of those peo­ple buy­ing the next Jag and the next Jag and the next Jag.’’

Black­hall is try­ing to get ex­tra sup­plies be­fore pro­duc­tion ends.

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‘‘We’ve known for a long time the X-Type would fade away. And now it’s hap­pen­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘We’re ba­si­cally out of stock. The ear­li­est pro­duc­tion we can get now is Septem­ber and we have about 100 com­ing. If we could get our hands on 300 that would be great, and that’s what we’re hop­ing for.’’

Black­hall says Jaguar will now shift fo­cus to the XF in Aus­tralia, as well as lay­ing the ground­work for the new XJ flag­ship.

‘‘XF will be the beginning car and it’s go­ing to be about $109,000 and we don’t ex­pect that to change a lot,’’ he says.

‘‘The re­al­ity is that when the new XJ comes along we’ll have a fran­chise head­ing more to­wards Bent­ley than BMW. We have to man­age that tran­si­tion.’’

There is no plan for a suc­ces­sor to the X-Type and Black­hall be­lieves a born-again E-Type sports car is much more likely.

‘‘There is a lot of in­ter­nal dis­cus­sion and de­bate. I’ll say this, that the idea of an­other tra­di­tional three-box sedan is not that ap­peal­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘Why wouldn’t we do some­thing more in­ter­est­ing?’’

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