BIRMINGHAM, England - With Jaguar Cars Ltd. moving onto the turf of the Mercedes E class, BMW 5 series and Audi A6 with its new S-Type, an obvious gap in its range is a diesel engine.
The lack of a diesel unit could cost Jaguar useful incremental volume in Europe at a time when major German rivals are building high-performance V-6 and V-8 common-rail diesels, senior Jaguar executives concede.
Germany, France and Italy are major diesel markets.
'A diesel is in our plans, but how we reach that reality has yet to be decided,' one Jaguar executive said.
He pointed out, though, that more than 40 percent of S-Types will be sold in the United States, where diesel penetration of the premium segment is virtually nil. That reality substantially softens the need for a diesel option, he said.
Group chief engineer Trevor Crisp, responsible for Jaguar engines and transmissions, said he is sure a diesel is in Jaguar's future.
'But we will not do it until we have the right unit to offer,' he said.
'It most likely would not be our own engine. We have no plans to source a unit from Ford (Jaguar's parent), but we would clearly consider them before looking outside.'
Jaguar Chairman Nick Scheele has declined to confirm media reports that he is sounding out Daimler-Benz as a potential engine supplier.