The use of Ford hardware is essential to keep development costs down and allow Ford to maximise profit on the crucial new model.
X200, which is only a codename, is aimed at the BMW 5-Series market, a sector growing at a much faster rate than the big luxury car market that Jaguar traditionally occupies. The new model will be smaller externally than the current XJ6 model. Yet, because modern Jaguars are actually rather cramped, it is likely to be at least as big on the inside. Prices are likely to be in the pounds 25,000-pounds 35,000 range. Sales start in early 1999.
The platform - floorpan, suspension and other main chassis components - is borrowed from a new American Ford model. The same platform will be used by Ford to source the replacement for the Scorpio. Many other hidden components, including electrics, will also be Ford-based, further reducing Jaguar's development and production costs. Jaguar's engineers will be given the chance to tune the Ford bits, to try to give the car a real Jaguar driving experience.
The styling will be done by Jaguar. The car illustrated is one of the current proposals. No final decision on styling has yet been taken. But the car will look like a slightly smaller, and more rounded, version of the current XJ6. The cockpit will also be unique to Jaguar, and will feature leather upholstery and wooden dash and door caps.
Engines have not been finalised, but both V6 and V8s are certain. The V8 will be Jaguar's new motor built in Bridgend, Wales, due to be unveiled in the XJS replacement next year.
Gavin Green is editor of 'Car' magazine.