EVORA, Portugal -- Jaguar wants to win new customers for the XJ by showcasing the car's green credentials.
The brand will be telling potential customers "about our environmental friendliness in the luxury segment," said Stephen Perrin, Jaguar's global marketing director, at the presentation of the XJ's new 2.7-liter V-6 diesel here.
Because of its aluminum body, the XJ is hundreds of pounds lighter than rivals in the upper-premium segment.
With less weight to move, the diesel-powered XJ uses 2.1 gallons of fuel per 62 miles. That puts it close behind the Mercedes-Benz S class, which uses 2 gallons of fuel per 62 miles.
Both cars emit fewer carbon dioxide emissions than the BMW 7 series, Audi A8 and Volkswagen Phaeton.
But the British carmaker isn't adding the common-rail turbodiesel in western Europe just to help the environment.
"The XJ diesel is expected to add 50 percent incremental sales," Perrin said.
Slow to become part of Europe's diesel boom, Jaguar is the only competitive carmaker in the upper-premium segment without a diesel. That has had a devastating impact on XJ sales.
Last year the XJ's volume in western Europe fell 28.8 percent to 5,028 units. Things have worsened in 2005 as Volkswagen's Phaeton has outsold the XJ 1,744 units to 1,523 in the first five months of the year.
"That is why it is important to have a diesel," Perrin said about slipping behind the Phaeton, which is considered a sales flop. "We now have a full-fledged diesel range, which is essential in Europe."
XJ models with the 204-hp diesel go on sale in Europe in October. The British carmaker's higher-volume models, the X-Type and S-Type, already offer diesel derivatives.
The S-Type and XJ have the same diesel, while the X-Type offers a 2.0-liter common-rail turbodiesel.
Sales of the S-Type also were hurt by Europe's explosion in diesel demand. Nearly half the new cars sold in Europe last year were powered by a diesel.
S-Type diesel versions appeared in 2004 - six years after the model's first gasoline derivatives - and now account for two-thirds of the model's European sales. Overall western European sales of the S-Type are up 10.6 percent to 5,979 units in the first five months compared with the year-ago period.
Perrin said that if such a huge change could happen to the S-Type, diesel sales soon could account for up to 80 percent of Jaguar's total European volume.
The 2.7-liter diesel is the result of a diesel partnership between PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Jaguar's parent, Ford Motor Co.
The new XJ diesel also will offer a standard diesel particulate filter. The company isn't worried about the current shortage of the emissions-reducing device.
Said Perrin: "We have our allocations reserved."