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Ford pins Jaguar hopes on new XF
By John Reed in London
Monday Aug 27 2007 19:35

Jaguar has released pictures and announced pricing for the XF, a sports saloon seen as a make-or-break vehicle for the struggling UK luxury brand that Ford Motor is trying to sell.

The car will make its public debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show on September 11 and its reception will be watched closely by private equity and carmaking groups now weighing bids for it and Land Rover, Ford's other UK premium brand.

India's Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors, alongside at least five buy-out groups, are weighing up the carmakers for a possible bid.

Jaguar said the XF, which will aim to compete with top German offerings such as BMW's 5-series, would cost from £33,900 ($66,400) in the UK. The carmaker described the model as "a dramatic expression of Jaguar's bold new design language" and its styling resembles the C-XF concept car unveiled in January in Detroit.

"It's really key how this model takes to the market," said Jonathon Poskitt, manager of JD Power, the European automotive sales forecast consultancy. "It's a really pivotal model."

Kevin Gaskell, chief executive of EurotaxGlass International, the automotive consultancy, said: "It's absolutely crucial to the future of the company."

With a sporty styled exterior, the four-door XF seats five and includes a number of innovative design features, including a rotary shift that rises into the driver's palm when the engine is started.

The model will be available with a range of four engines, including a version with a 4.2 litre V8 petrol supercharged engine, priced in the UK at £54,900.

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