To save costs, Jaguar could reduce its vehicle architectures from four to two, says CEO Joe Greenwell.
Each of Jaguar’s models – the S-type, XJ, XK8 and X-type – is built on its own platform.
Greenwell said four vehicle architectures are too many for a company building 120,000 cars a year.
“We need to move to a common architecture in our vehicles,” he said. “Flexible manufacturing is the answer. What we’re after is a common process as well as common components.”
Jaguar initially will reduce its architectures to three when the next-generation XK8 premium coupe is launched in January 2006.
The new XK8 will use the aluminum construction of the upper-premium XJ sedan. Jaguar executives say many of the systems and processes for the XK8 also will be the same as on the XJ.
Jaguar’s platforms would be reduced to two if the company decides that the next S-type medium-premium sedan will share its underpinnings with the XJ and the next-generation XK8.
The XJ, XK8 and S-type all will be built in Jaguar’s plant in Castle Bromwich, in central England, when Jaguar ends assembly at its nearby Browns Lane plant this summer.
But building the three models on a common architecture would pose a dilemma for Jaguar engineers and production specialists.
The S-type has a steel construction but the open question is whether the S-type replacement, expected in 2008, will have an aluminum structure.
“That’s a goal,” said Greenwell. “There are still decisions to make on this, and the aluminum team doesn’t have all the answers yet.”
Jaguar builds the X-type, its highest volume model, at its plant in Halewood, in northwest England. The X-type likely will not share its platform with other Jaguar models, although the current model is based on the Ford Mondeo.
Greenwell said Land Rover, Jaguar’s Premier Automotive Group stable mate, shows the way forward.
Land Rover’s T5 architecture, which was launched in the Range Rover in 2001, now also underpins the new Discovery and Land Rover’s third new model line, the Range Rover Sport.
The platform-sharing system has enabled much more efficient manufacturing, said Greenwell, who is also CEO of Land Rover.