Cars, International News, Jaguar, Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover to slash output at two UK factories due to falling demand, not coronavirus outbreak


Jaguar Land Rover will reduce or stop production on certain days at two of its UK factories over the next few weeks, Reuters reports. However, it’s not related to the coronavirus outbreak that’s currently gripping China – instead, this slashing of output comes as the premium carmaker pursues cost-cutting measures in response to falling demand.

The report says that JLR posted a 2.3% drop in sales in the final quarter of 2019 and has targeted billions of pounds worth of savings to tackle falling demand for diesels in Europe, as well as a sluggish market in China.

JLR will halt production on selected days over a four-week period from late February at its Castle Bromwich plant in and stop production on some half or full days at the nearby Solihull facility until the end of March. “The external environment remains challenging for our industry and the company is taking decisive actions to achieve the necessary operational efficiencies to safeguard long-term success,” the Range Rover-maker said in a statement.

“We have confirmed that Solihull and Castle Bromwich will make some minor changes to their production schedules to reflect fluctuating demand globally, whilst still meeting customer needs,” it added.

So, this production hiccup isn’t due to the coronavirus, which has forced many carmakers to halt production in China. Outside of China, Hyundai has suspended production in South Korea due to parts shortage from China. Fiat Chrysler has warned that a European plant could shut down within two to four weeks if Chinese parts suppliers cannot get back to work due to the outbreak.

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Cars, EVs and Alternative Fuel, Hybrids, Jaguar, Spyshots

SPYSHOTS: Next-gen Jaguar XJ goes fully electric


The next Jaguar XJ flagship sedan will become fully electric, which will be followed by the next-generation Range Rover that will share its MLA platform. This development mule photographed here wears a modified Jaguar XF exterior, though a camouflaged front end and taller side sills mark this out as something different underneath.

The MLA platform’s ‘skateboard’ architecture means that the next XJ – the group’s first to use the platform – and by extension, the next Range Rover won’t be confined to just a fully electric drivetrain, as the platform will accommodate diesel, petrol, hybrid as well as fully electric powertrain layouts, Jaguar Land Rover said, and is said to be even lighter than the outgoing D-series platform.

The Tesla Model S is the obvious contender in the premium electric sedan segment, though this, along with the fully electric Jaguar XJ will be joined by EV models from the traditional luxury establishment, namely the Mercedes-Benz EQS, fully electric BMW 7 Series, Porsche Taycan and the Audi e-tron GT.

Powertrain details for the next Jaguar XJ are still scant, though for comparison Autocar reported that the Mercedes-Benz EQS is expected to use a 90 kWh battery pack for an estimated range of ‘between 400 km to 500 km’. An 80kWh battery gives the 402 hp/765 Nm EQC crossover a range of 417 km, while the base Porsche Taycan 4S with the standard 79.2kWh battery offers 407 km of range and a peak output of 530 PS.

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Editor's Picks, Foreign Cars, fun to drive, General Chat, Jaguar, New Cars, svr, United States

The Jaguar F-PACE SVR: A Modern-Day Supercar – The CarGurus Blog


Let’s be perfectly clear: The 380-horsepower Jaguar F-PACE S has always been a fast SUV. Its supercharged V6 roars to life and will make the uninitiated’s hair stand on end. On this point, there is little argument.

The trouble is, performance SUVs like the BMW X5 M, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo redefined what shoppers can expect from a high-riding crossover, and Jaguar, a company with a long history in performance and racing, simply couldn’t compete with those rocket ships.

Don’t Wake the Neighbors

Luckily, in a true Cinderella story, Jaguar’s supercharged V8 is a perfect fit for the F-PACE’s engine bay. It’s with this engine that the F-PACE evolves from a fast, premium luxury crossover and heads toward supercar territory.

The 2019 Jaguar F-PACE SVR isn’t necessarily the best choice for early risers living in quiet suburban hamlets. Sure, our test car’s Ultra Blue paint would look spectacular against a green, manicured lawn. But depress the brake and punch the ignition, and the birds will almost certainly leave their nest and your peaceful neighbors will likely be writing strongly worded letters to the homeowner’s association.

The F-PACE SVR is loud—loud is kind of Jaguar’s thing these days. But it also comes with a little party trick for those who can’t get enough of blasting through tunnels and revving in parking garages. On the center console between the driver and passenger seats, Jaguar has installed a button that opens a set of baffles in the exhaust tailpipe. Hit this button, and the SVR’s engine note grows from a subtle (but noticeable) growl to an outright bark. The residents of your bucolic neighborhood might not appreciate the noise, but you likely will.

Watch Out for That Speed Limit

Once you’re off and running, the party’s just begun. The SVR’s 5.0-liter V8 engine puts out 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque, distributed to all four wheels and managed by a quick 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s not quite as quick as some competitors—namely the Porsche Macan Turbo—but with Pirelli Scorpion all-season tires, it raced away from stoplights and tore through corners. Despite the car’s 4,395 pounds, it never felt top-heavy.

Certainly, the SVR benefits from a few additional
upgrades—at nearly $90,000, one would hope it comes with more than just a big
engine. 22-inch wheels handle the wide tires, and the massive brakes house
Jaguar’s electronic active differential, which helps the vehicle carve corners
by applying light braking to the inside wheel during turns. Unfortunately, like
a true supercar, it also chugged gas. Over 250 miles, we averaged 16.3 miles
per gallon of painfully expensive premium fuel.

Stop for Groceries

What truly makes the F-PACE special, however, is not its sound or its speed or its handling chops. It’s that it provides all of these supercar elements while still being up to the task of day-to-day life.

Typically, you’ll hear critics praise the Porsche 911 or the Audi R8 as “everyday supercars,” because they’re relatively comfortable and easy to drive, while also providing top-tier performance. But next to an F-PACE SVR, those cars are garage-queen exotics.

The F-PACE gives you all-wheel drive. It gives you ground clearance. It gives you 63.5 cubic feet of total cargo space. It just so happens to also give you face-melting acceleration and cellular-disrupting braking. Packaged in gorgeously designed sheet metal and complete with advanced safety and technology features, the F-PACE SVR is the new daily-driving supercar.

For more auto news, check out these articles:

Photos by Elliot Haney.

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Audi, BMW, Cars, Feature Stories, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Porsche, Volvo

2019 year in review and what’s to come in 2020 – tough year for Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but Volvo soars


Having looked at how the national carmakers and Japanese brands fared in 2019, we continue on the year that was with the premium brands. It was a mixed year for players in the segment, with most of the activity coming from the German marques, as expected. The usual duo led the way in with the introductions this year, but it was a bumper year for the four rings as well.

Things were however a whole lot quieter for many players, and although this will change in 2020 for some, it doesn’t look rosy for at least one.

A slew of Audis. Really?

The brand that has always played bridesmaid to the two other Germans made a real go of it this year, introducing no less than 10 models in 2019. Amazing, really, when you consider how quiet it has been in recent years, with only the occasional low-key introduction to signal that it was still around.

The action started in March with the debut of four vehicles, three of which were new. The Q7 received a specification update, but it was the Q2, Q5 and Q8 that made for the news, with their arrival significantly bumping up the Audi SUV count in the country at a go. The second-gen Q3, meanwhile, joined the party late in the year.

Sedans – and fastbacks – were not forgotten in the rare Audi blitz. April saw the introduction of the A3 Sedan, with the C8-generation A6 and D5 A8L entering the showrooms in June before making their working debut in August. Elsewhere, the second-gen F5 A5 Sportback and the C8 A7 Sportback went on preview for a bit before they made they were officially launched.

That’s quite a haul from Ingolstadt. Whether Euromobil continues to play aggressive in 2020 remains to be seen, but Audi fans surely won’t complain if it does. In terms of what’s coming, the facelifted B9 A4 should be one of the highlights next year.

Monthly debuts from BMW

BMW Malaysia started out their campaign in January with two M Performance Editions, which essentially signed out the F30 330e and F15 X5 xDrive40e, and these were each limited to 300 units. Next up, the G20 3 Series, which arrived as a CBU 330i in March, and its debut also saw a full catalogue of M Performance parts being introduced.

The same month saw the debut of the G15 8 Series, and a month later, to show that the G30 5 Series wasn’t forgotten, the company brought the 520i Luxury and 530e M Sport variants into the market. The all-electric i3s was also launched in April, but final pricing was only announced in August.

In May, the G02 X4 M Sport went the CKD route (pricing revealed in June), and the G05 X5 and F39 X2 M35i went on preview, ahead of their official pricing being announced in July. The F87 M2 Competition was next up to bat in June, making its debut in Sepang, and this was followed by the X7 SUV in July.

The month also saw the G29 Z4 sDrive 30i and facelifted G12 7 Series being announced, the latter continuing on with a 740Le xDrive badge designation. In September, another variant was added to the G01 X3 range in the form of an xDrive30i M Sport model, and the G20 3 Series went the CKD route, retaining the 330i variant.

Models to look forward to in 2020 are likely to include the F40 1 Series, the F48 X1 facelift, G06 X6 and Munich’s answer to the CLA, the F44 2 Series Gran Coupe. The G20 3 Series range will also expand with the upcoming 320i, although there’s still no word on when the 330e plug-in hybrid will arrive, or whether it is even coming. Guess we’ll know in 2020.

Lexus rolls on, while Infiniti stalls

It wasn’t until June that Lexus Malaysia got into the swing of things with the refreshed NX 300, in three variant forms (Urban, Premium and F Sport). The facelift has been around since 2018, but the latest update adds on kit such as Lexus Safety System + while lowering prices.

The seventh-generation ES sedan made its debut as an ES 250 model in September, in two trim levels, Premium and Luxury. The same month saw the RX facelift making its way to Malaysia, with the RX 300 going on sale in Premium, Luxury and F Sport guise.

The coming year will see the introduction of the UX, which was first seen here in 2018 when it was previewed at KLIMS. At that point Lexus Malaysia said there were no plans to bring it in, but it looks like that has changed, and the SUV is slated for our market.

No cheer however for its fellow automaker Infiniti. With the brand languishing globally and in the midst of a restructuring (which will see it exit Europe completely and focus on the United States and China), it’s no surprise that the turnout of new models this year locally was zilch. The brand remains in the country, but with the KL showroom having closed (operations have been moved back to Edaran Tan Chong Motor premises), one wonders how long before the carmaker calls it quits in Malaysia.

The tristar juggernaut chugs along

As 2019 draws to a close, and unless something dramatic takes place in the sales charts, it looks like Mercedes-Benz Malaysia will still hold on to its best-seller title for another year, edging out BMW once more. However, this year won’t be like 2018, because the overall numbers are down for both – up to November, MAA figures reveal that Mercedes sales are down by 24% and BMW, down by 19.6%, year-on-year.

It hasn’t been for a lack of trying or products, with the introduction of new cards at every opportunity continuing to be very much the game plan. The ball started rolling with the introduction of the W213 E350, equipped with the automaker’s new M264 engine, in March. The E200 Sportstyle and E300 Exclusive, bearing new engines and kit, were also launched at that point. The same month also saw the pre-facelift C253 GLC 300 making its debut.

Next to arrive was the V177 A-Class Sedan in A200 and A250 forms. This was followed by the Mercedes-AMG C63S Sedan and Coupe facelifts, along with the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe, which went on sale here in GT 43, GT 53 and GT 63S 4Matic+ forms. Then, the W222 S 560 e PHEV came along in June at the same evebt that gave the all-electric EQC its ASEAN debut.

The AMG A35 Sedan was introduced in September, and October was a busy month for the brand, with the W247 B-Class, C190 Mercedes-AMG GT R and GT C facelifts and X156 GLA 200 Style being introduced to the market. Rounding off the new product list for 2019 was the X253 GLC and C253 GLC Coupe facelifts, which were launched earlier this month. The refreshed SUVs also debuted Mercedes me connect, which will make its way on to upcoming models.

Expect no let-up in the introductions in 2020. Among these will be the second-gen C118 CLA, H247 GLA, X247 GLB, C167 GLE Coupe and the W213 E-Class facelift. The EQC is also slated to arrive in 2020.

MINI adventures continue

The brand’s first product introduction this year was the F60 Cooper S Countryman Pure in April. This was followed by the F57 Cooper S Convertible in July. The latter was a small scale outing, with a run limited to only 20 units.

Nothing like a commemorative edition to evoke nostalgia (and add to sales), and that was certainly the case when the 60 Years Edition popped up in August. The model is a 60-unit limited-edition offering based on the Cooper S 3 Door hatch.

Elsewhere, the F54 Clubman facelift premiered in November, going on sale here in sole Cooper S form. The John Cooper Works Clubman and Countryman were also unveiled at the same time. The next year should see the MINI Electric among the new introductions heading to our shores.

Short but Swede

There were only two new Volvos coming our way this year, and both arrived towards the tail-end of it, but despite this the Swedish brand has been gaining traction – up to November, it sold 1,691 cars, 32% up from the 1,279 units it had achieved by the same time last year. Doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that the German brands will sell less this year than in 2018, it’s a big plus on the brand’s report card.

The much-awaited third-generation S60 finally made its way here in October, going on sale in solitary T8 R-Design guise. While initial units are fully imported (CBU), local assembly is set to start later on, with no changes expected in the specifications when CKD production begins.

The XC90 facelift was the other, the refresh bringing about minor design tweaks, new kit and a bigger battery for the T8 Twin Engine, which increases the pure electric driving range, all accomplished without raising the price from before. The brand also introduced a leather dashboard for the T8 versions of the S90, XC60 and pre-facelift XC90 in August.

No new cats, nothing roving on the ground either

With no new product introductions in the past 12 months, Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia continued to sell what it had in 2019, but there should be a fair bit of activity next year. On the Jaguar front, while the I-Pace has been teased on the local website, it surely won’t be the next in.

That honour should go to the E-Pace – the SUV, first seen locally at our PACE 2018 event, was sighted in the country earlier this month, so it shouldn’t be long before it finally makes its long-awaited local debut. It will be joined by the second-gen Range Rover Evoque, which was previewed at PACE 2019, and was spotted this month undergoing vehicle type approval (VTA).

As for the new Land Rover Defender, don’t hold your breath too long waiting for it to show up that fast – any sign of it will likely be well into the second half of the year at the earliest, given that Australia only gets it in June. High right-hand drive demand might also delay timelines.

Taycan get it out fast enough

No shortage of ground activities – and customer engagement – in Sepang this year for Porsche, but in terms of product launches things were rather on the quiet side. The biggest bang was the introduction of the 992-generation 911 in July, the eighth-gen making its local debut in Carrera S and 4S guise.

Two versions of the Macan facelift were also introduced, the base 2.0 litre in June and the Macan S in August. Earlier in the year, Sime Darby Auto Performance revealed a 15-unit, limited-run 718 Cayman SportDesign edition for the Malaysian market.

Models due next year should include the Cayenne Coupe, but all eyes are of course on the new all-electric Taycan. We do know its set to arrive in 2020, but now we know around when – it’s due in around eight months. According to the folks at Porsche Asia Pacific, the first examples for Malaysia are due sometime in August, and we’ll be getting the Turbo and Turbo S first, well ahead of the entry-level 4S.

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