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Lester heads Jaguar trial

Andrew Lester, who reshaped Jaguar's UK dealer line-up ready for S-type and X-type, is on special assignment in Austria to match the brand with Land Rover in the retail market.

Jonathan Browning, Jaguar managing director, said Mr Lester's task was part of a programme to find ways of putting Ford Premier Automotive Group brands together for customers.

“Andrew isn't testing something which will be automatically replicated in the UK,” said Mr Browning. “We do though want to bring the PAG brands together whenever possible, and where makes commercial sense. Each marque – Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo – will have separate showrooms.

“It's an evolutionary process and high-performing, well-established entrepreneurial operators will be able to continue in isolation.”

Mr Browning said each dealer group and each location would be considered case-by-case as Jaguar adapted its dealer network for higher volumes.

Jaguar revealed the R-coupe which Mr Browning described as “a road-map, not a destination”. It was not, he said, a concept heralding the XJ saloon replacement, on sale by September 2003.

It was related more closely to the F-type sports coupe which goes on sale in 2004/05.

“The R-coupe is not a car we have in mind for production in the next five to eight years,” said Mr Browning. “We always have more ideas than resources to be put them into production.”

The new XJ (will be built from aluminium, raising the cost of the body by between 10% and 20%).

“That doesn't mean the retail cost will rise by that much,” said Mr Browning. “It will be lighter, reducing fuel costs for users who will also take whole-life costs into account and make re-use easier – recyclability has entered the equation.”

Aluminium created the chance for designers to produce greater stiffness in the body for the weight, and the overall package meant it was the right direction for Jaguar to take, said Mr Browning.

This year Jaguar will produce around 20,000 XJ saloons with about 3,000 sold in the UK.



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