With an appreciable uptick in global sales (roughly 19% YOY), new powertrains to be added and a Sportbrake XF – pictured – in the 2013 model mix, Jaguar Land Rover has announced the addition of 1,100 new jobs at its advanced manufacturing facility in Castle Bromwich. For an economically battered European car market, drowning in its overcapacity, the hiring news should provide some level of assurance that something – beyond Princess Kate – is right with the English-speaking world.
The above news should also, of course, bode well for the American-speaking world. Land Rover, with consistent demand for its LR4, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, is enjoying an overwhelming market response to the all-new Evoque. Regrettably, that same level of excitement hasn’t been evident in U.S. Jaguar showrooms. Of course, any excitement is dampened when you mandate the sales staff wear long trousers, but in the absence of a halo (the still-not-here XK-F) or 3-Series competitor there are far fewer reasons to shop Jaguar than to consider the other, more obvious (and more German) competition.
In London, where the hiring announcement was made, optimism is almost Olympian. The XF, Jag’s 5-Series/E-Class competitor, will receive a 2.0 liter, 240-horsepower turbocharged four. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the XF will employ the same drivetrain strategy successfully introduced by BMW over the last two model years. The Bavarians have ditched normally-aspirated sixes in both the 3-and-5-Series, substituting turbocharged fours to credible effect. Notably, the last 4-cylinder offered by Jaguar was in 1948.
Both XF and the larger XJ will also receive a turbocharged 3.0 liter V6, available in two states of tune. ‘Column A’ provides 380 horsepower, while ordering from ‘Column B’ supplies 380. You pays your money – you takes your choice.
The global optimism and reconfigured drivetrains can’t make their way to U.S. showrooms soon enough. With monthly Jag sales hovering around 1,000 units a month, the Brit’s retail activity falls – on an annualized basis – almost exactly between Isuzu sales and Suzuki sales. Isuzu, of course, left this market in 2009…