LONDON - The Jaguar F-Type sports car must achieve cost goals by the end of September or it won't be built, Jaguar's top executive said.
Jaguar has never said the F-Type would be built. But after a concept shown at the 2000 Detroit auto show was praised widely, Jaguar began to consider it seriously.
The F-Type is seen as a spiritual successor to the legendary E-Type, which ceased production in 1974.
"There is not a clear business case yet" for the F-Type, said Jaguar Managing Director Mike Beasley. "We want to do it. We're desperate to do it. But it's not cut and dried. We're already doing a lot of engineering. It's old territory for the concept, but a new territory for execution.''
Ford Motor Co. CEO Bill Ford has said each vehicle line must be individually profitable. Jaguar is part of Ford Motor's Premier Automotive Group of luxury brands.
One issue for the F-Type is the use of aluminum. Some aluminum body panels would make the F-Type lighter and faster but more expensive. Using steel would require a more powerful engine to achieve the necessary performance, again adding to development costs.
"We want to use aluminum in great chunks, but in other areas we need steel" to keep costs down, Beasley said. "Certainly we have to have the power."
Said Beasley: "It has to be luxurious enough to be the modern E-Type," yet it also must be priced competitively. If approved, the F-Type would go on sale in late 2004 or early 2005.