Drive Type: AUTO
Roslyn Heights, New York, United States
Jaguar-Land Rover is not what you'd call a volume automaker by any stretch of the imagination. But in the dozen years since it started manufacturing at its Halewood plant near Liverpool, England, the automaker has already built its millionth vehicle.
The landmark vehicle is a Range Rover Evoque, done up in white with red roof and mirrors, black wheels and a red and black interior. The crossover is set to be donated to Cancer Research UK, which will auction it off next year to help fund its projects in the north-west of the country.
Halewood started manufacturing the Jaguar X-Type in 2001, then went on to assemble the Land Rover LR2 / Freelander 2 before taking on production of the Evoque a year and a half ago. The facility reached the 300,000-unit milestone just last year as production moved to a 24-hour cycle for the first time in either marque's history.
Jaguar has a whole raft of new products in the pipeline, from the long-awaited replacement for the XF mid-size sedan and a likely XJ-based replacement for the XK coupe and convertible to the production version of its C-X17 crossover concept. But arguably the most important will be the all-new XE, a compact sports sedan pointed squarely at the BMW 3 Series - a market segment which Jaguar last nipped at with the regrettable X-Type, one which it is now committed to tackling head on.
The British automaker has been trickling out a steady stream of details on its upcoming XE, from the initial announcement in March to the reveal of the disguised prototype in May and most recently the details released just last week of the new Ingenium engine family that will provide its motivation. Now Jaguar has confirmed the XE reveal timeframe and some more salient details of its chassis.
Set to be unveiled in London on September 8, the XE will reach European showrooms in 2015 and our shores in 2016. That's when buyers will be able to get their hands on what Jaguar is already characterizing as "a true driver's car; one that redefines the concept of the sports sedan."
With the XE now out in the open, Jaguar can begin to focus on what comes next. That means a new crossover, but also replacements for some of its aging current models - chief among them, the XF. Introduced back in 2007, Jaguar's mid-range sedan is growing a little long in the tooth. But from these latest spy shots, we can see that the British automaker is hard at work developing its successor.
Expected to be based on the same iQ A1 platform that underpins the new XE, the new XF promises to be lighter in weight and more advanced than the model it replaces. Look for most of the same engines to carry over, including gasoline and diesel options ranging from four cylinders to eight, with and without forced induction, with a potential plug-in hybrid version to follow. The current model is available in rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations and in sedan and wagon body styles, and we'd expect its replacement to follow suit.
The low-profile wheels and dual exhaust pipes on one of the prototypes spotted suggests it would lie somewhere near the top of the range, while the second prototype packs taller sidewalls and a trailer hitch. It's hard to discern much esle from the spy shots, heavily camouflaged as they are, but as with the technology underneath, we'd expect styling to takes some cues from the smaller XE as well. Jaguar will, of course, need to tread the line between distinctive and understated if it's going to fend off the Maserati Ghibli and take a bigger slice of the pie away from the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Lexus GS and Infiniti Q70, the Cadillac CTS and the upcoming new Volvo S90.