But Detroit 2000 was no classic for new American cars. The major US automakers now prefer to spread important model introductions across the auto show calendar rather than blitz Detroit with all their future hardware. And that means European brands can make an increasingly significant contribution to the appeal of America's premier auto show. Jaguar rediscovers E-type allureBradford Wernle
Automotive News EuropeJaguar has signaled its intention to reclaim the mantle of sports car leadership with the sensuous F-type concept which made its debut in Detroit.
The F-type is the spiritual successor to the famous E-type Jaguar, which ceased production in 1974. Jaguar is in the process of carrying out an engineering feasibility study on the F-type concept to make the business case for producing the vehicle.
'Clearly the next step is to do a detailed market segment evaluation to see what the volume should be in different countries,' said Wolfgang Reitzle, chairman of Jaguar and Ford's Premier Automotive Group luxury-car division.
Richard Parry-Jones, Ford group vice president for product development, said the business case for F-type would be 'difficult but not insuperable.' That is partially because the F-type is built on its own unique platform.
Jonathan Browning, Jaguar managing director, said Jaguar introduced the F-type at the North American International Auto Show to gauge customer reaction. Based on first-day show reaction, he said Jaguar already was feeling 'quiet confidence' that the new roadster would be a success if it goes into production.
J Mays, Ford group vice president for design, said the F-type falls between the Audi TT and Porsche Boxster in size.
The F-type concept was generated under the regime of the late Jaguar styling chief Geoff Lawson. It was completed under the aegis of Ian Callum, Jaguar's director of design. Keith Helfet was the lead designer.
Also at the Detroit show, Jaguar announced it had broken sales records in 1999. It sold 75,312 units worldwide, up 50 percent from 1998 - itself a record year.