We are being told that unemployment has dropped to 7.7% and that Britain has turned a corner after the dark economic days and years that we have recently suffered. While we can be sceptical about this, one bit of good news we can maybe all be unequivocally pleased about is the announcement that Jaguar is to create 1,700 new jobs at its Solihull plant.
This is part of a £1.5 billion investment that Jaguar say will help expand the current product range. We should see the fruits of this investment in a new mid sized sports model planned for 2015. The car will be an aluminium chassis sports saloon using new technology designed with thanks to Jaguar’s huge injection of cash that will fund the development of the new manufacturing equipment required.
Jaguar Land Rover says that the development of the aluminium architecture, as they call it, should be flexible enough to be used as a base for future product developments as well. This potentially would include new product from both Jaguar and Land Rover.
It all sounds very interesting, as an aluminium chassis by nature is likely to be far lighter than most current car chassis platforms, thus in theory improving fuel economy and efficiency.
Jaguar Land Rover announced the new jobs at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where they also took the opportunity to remind us that over the past three years, Jaguar has created around 11,000 new UK jobs.
As part of this new dawn, prior to the Frankfurt Motor Show Jaguar revealed the C-X17 concept vehicle. The C-X17 shows what might be achievable with the new aluminium architecture.
Jaguar say that the aluminium chassis will be extremely stiff, scaleable, and will allow the company to invest in a wider, and higher volume, range of models.
The C-X17 concept is an SUV crossover which, Jaguar tell us has (in the usual manner of motor industry jargon) “..exciting proportions..” and “..balance of form..”
Quite what that means is anyone’s guess, but the concept is more about the aluminium architecture than anything else I suspect. And as if to prove the point, the first planned aluminium vehicle will be the sports saloon referred to earlier.
Interestingly, Jaguar hopes that the all-new UK built petrol engines that will be available for the new sports saloon model in 2015 will enable a Jaguar to drop below the elusive (for Jaguar anyway) 100g/km CO2 level.
While the C-X17 has already attracted some criticism online, it should be remembered that this is a concept vehicle, a design study as Jaguar are billing it. It is the beginning of a new phase for Jaguar though, and it will be interesting to see how this much loved brand’s moves are perceived over the next few years.
Images – bbc.co.uk