Shortly after the massive Indian conglomerate Tata bought the iconic British car companies in 2008, Ratan Tata went to the United States to speak with Jaguar dealers who persuaded him to look at four-wheel-drive versions of Jaguar's sedans.
Four-wheel-drive versions of the Jaguar range are needed for those states that lie in the US Snowbelt to combat the likes of Audi who offer 'quattro' all-wheel-drive versions across much of its range.
Adrian Hallmark, head of the Jaguar brand, stated two years ago that all-wheel-drive would be critical to the brand’s growth in the United States and more urgent than hybrid technology, which he said was expensive.
Hallmark said from Moscow that 40 per cent of Jaguar’s volume would come all-wheel drive, but in the mountain states that number is more likely to be 70 per cent, based on current sales of premium cars in those regions.
He also said that China and Russia would get the all-wheel-drive versions along with the Alpine countries of Europe such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
“In China, 30 to 40 per cent of sales will be four-wheel-drive, and the same in Russia. The percentages will be smaller in Europe, but in specific regions such as Bavaria it will be much higher.”
It also means that the all-wheel-drive Jaguars will be built only for left-hand-drive markets and with one engine – the new 250kW 3.0-litre supercharged V6, which will also be found in the soon to be released Jaguar F-type sports car.
Hallmark didn’t rule out the possibility of right-hand-drive versions when he said, “We had to start with the markets with most potential (for all-wheel drive).
“Even in Europe, places like Austria and Switzerland are very petrol biased. But this is only one step. It is not the end of our story.”
The all-paw drivetrain would be a logical choice for a Jaguar crossover vehicle that design boss Ian Callum told CarAdvice earlier this year is a future product under consideration - while ruling out a purpose-built SUV.