1997 Land Rover Defender D90
Davidson, North Carolina, United States
1997 Land Rover Defender D90
As it begins the rollout of the all-wheel-drive Jaguar XJ and XF models, Jaguar Land Rover has just announced that it has opened a new facility in northern Minnesota for winter testing. Located in International Falls, MN (on the US and Canadian border), the British automaker says it is one of the coldest locations in the Continental US. Jaguar's new Instinctive All Wheel Drive system was developed primarily to help sell more cars in the northern US, so it only makes sense to open a testing area in the US as well.
With temperatures that can drop to minus 55 degrees Fahrenheit, International Falls was chosen to mimic some of the worst weather a Jaguar or Land Rover will ever see. The grounds house testing chambers, various road surfaces and even a frozen lake. This new facility complements the hot-weather testing grounds in Phoenix, AZ.
The official press release is posted below.
Was it right for Chevrolet to detune the 1975 Corvette's base engine to 165 horsepower? Was Aston Martin wrong to make the Toyota iQ-based Cygnet? Is BMW crazy to be testing the new 1 Series with three-cylinder engines and front-wheel drive? It seems now, just as in the 1970s and 1980s, that emissions regulations and social considerations are driving some automakers to adopt unbefitting practices to maintain acceptance in the eyes of governments and consumers. Jaguar has jumped on the bandwagon, and is considering development of small, frugal, front-wheel-drive cars to help lower Jaguar Land Rover's average vehicle CO2 levels in light of tightening European emissions regulations, Autocar reports.
By 2020, the European Union expects the model range of every manufacturer to average 95 grams per kilometer, which is a new law passed by the European Parliament in April. Manufacturers who make more than 300,000 vehicles per year must meet these targets, and JLR is expected to be producing up to 700,000 vehicles per year by then. CO2 regulations after 2020 will only get stricter, as EU politicians already are talking about lowering CO2 levels to between 68 g/km and 78 g/km. (To put that in perspective, Autocar posits that driving a fully charged electric vehicle in Europe produces about 75 g/km when factoring in the power-generation infrastructure.)
Jaguar has some choices here, but so far they all have drawbacks. It could develop a new, compact chassis architecture for a line of compact vehicles, but the investment required for such a project could be prohibitively expensive. Jaguar has been looking into using the Land Rover Evoque platform for a small SUV, Autocar reports, but Land Rover brand manager John Edwards raises issue with such a plan, saying it may not be financially feasible.
It's only been a couple of months since Jaguar Land Rover announced the formation of its new Special Operations division, and we've already seen a number of vehicles to come out of it. But now the British automaker has announced a new facility that will house its elite skunkworks department.
Set to be built at Prologis Park in Ryton, England, on the outskirts of Coventry, the new Special Vehicle Operations Technical Centre will encompass dedicated production lines, F1-style flexible workshops, a dedicated paint studio and VIP suite for commissioning bespoke projects. JLR will spend some $33 million on the facility that will be home to 150 specialists - 100 of them being new hires.
The first project which the Special Operations division is working on is the F-Type Project 7, but we've already seen more projects in the pipeline - including the upcoming Range Rover Sport SVR - and you can bet there'll be more. The revival of the Lightweight E-Type also falls under Special Operations, but is undertaken by the Jaguar Heritage department located nearby at Browns Lane.