X-Type Fans -- Unite!!

I am beginning to think that the only people who write about their X-Types are either one of the tiny minority that got a bad one ... or someone who
never drove one. Here's my take ..
We have a 2004 X-Type 3.0L (USA) with the SATNAV and it is clearly one of the finest cars we have ever had.
After doing a lot of research online, on purchase day I had narrowed my decision down to 4 options ... BMW 3 series, MB C series, Acura TL, and Jaguar ... in that order. My plan was to visit all 4 places, drive/shop and then decide. I only left the Jaguar dealer after buying the X-Type! Why? Value, luxury, performance, and style. In all 4 categories there was absolutely NO comparison. The X was clearly the winner.
Since then, I have been nothing but impressed with the overall quality and performance of the X. The exterior style is unique and yet it's clear the X-Type is the younger brother of the stunning XJ - turns heads every day. The exterior paint finish is the best I've ever seen on a production car, bar none. The interior leather, plastic materials and real wood are a joy to "live in" every day. The handling is superb and the AWD is a must since around here (Washington State) it rains a lot!! The performance is not that of an F-1 race car ... but plenty zippy enough to make heads turn!! And, I have no complaints whatsoever, be they mechanical or "fit & finish".
Can't really rate the dealer one way or another because my contact with them has been sparse ... which I see as a good thing!
So, why is the X selling below expectations? IMHO I believe there are several reasons:
1) Too high an expectation. This is a new market for Jag and a lot of folks who are deciding to buy a "luxury" car are drawn to the historical leaders ... MB, BMW and (to a lesser extent) Lexus and the other Japanese brands. It will take a while for people to realize that Jag has a viable option in this price category. Remember, prior to the X-Type the "cheapest" Jag was a $50k S-Type!! That's a big step up from a $20k Ford, Honda or VW owner.
2) Advertising/marketing ... PR and marketing for the X has been terrible. Someone decided to market to 30-somethings which may be an emerging market, but I'm 50+ and just reached an economic situation where I'm comfortable buying a "luxury" car. I believe there is a much wider audience demographic for the X-Type than the experts believed ... and that seems to be the case when I see and meet other X-Type owners. Very few are in their 30s!! Also, the PR folks clearly allowed the crap about parts sharing with the Mondeo to get out of hand (less than 20% of the content is shared, and you know what ... I DON'T CARE if I have a Ford power window motor inside my Jaguar as long as it works!!). Platform and parts sharing happens in all car brands and it's simply not a big deal. How they let this get to be such a major issue is beyond me. Maybe Ford/Jaguar should hire some folks away from Honda or Toyota as they've been pretty adept at sharing platforms without the negative publicity!! (Remember ... the Acura TSX is REALLY a Civic, the MDX is a Pilot, the Lexus ES is a Camry, etc!!)
3) Value perception ... in my opinion this is the real "problem" with the X and it's associated with the abysmal marketing efforts. Everywhere I have driven my car, the folks who comment on it or look at it have said the same thing ... they can't afford a Jaguar!! When I ask them what they'd guess the MSRP would be, they have all overshot by $5-10k. (Actually, this is not surprising since a BMW 330 with a similar size engine, auto, real leather, and AWD would sticker about $7,000 more than the X-Type). I will agree that this is a thorny and difficult issue ... how to let people know you have a strong vehicle at a very modest price point without making the brand sound cheap. I probably don't have the answer ... but then again, I'm not a $500k a year Marketing VP either!! If I were Ford, I'd look around and find some new folks and pay them to find an answer!! With the X doing so well in the UK and Europe, maybe they should stick close to home and let some of those fine folks market the X over here!! (As an aside, to overcome this problem, my local dealer has started advertising in a throw-away publication called Auto-Trader that is normally filled with cheapie used cars, which doesn't seem to me to be the "right" answer to this problem. A Jag ad mixed in with $700 ancient Toyotas? Even I know that's not the right target market!!)
Maybe we just need some more active, happy, X-Type owners to spread the good word!!
Unfortunately for Jaguar, their own people are not.
Cheers!!
Ken
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<..... a lot of folks who are deciding to buy a "luxury" car are drawn to the historical leaders ... MB, BMW and (to a lesser extent) Lexus and the other Japanese brands. <
Lexus is the sales leader in the North American luxury segment, follewed by BMW and then MB.

Before the car was launched, Jaguar had been assigned a totally unqualified "diversity" candidate as their General Marketing Manager by Ford. (She failed miserably and has since quit.) This individual spent virtually the entire X-Type launch budget sponsoring the Janet Jackson tour, with the rationale this would somehow combine the Company's diversity sales target with the 30+ demographic. As a result, there was scant print or TV marketing, no one knew squat about the car. This was followed by disastrous reviews in the automotive press, including numerous breakdowns. I.E., the X-Type launch was a total fiasco.

Please don't be offended, but you are not in the group Jaguar wanted to penetrate. As I mentioned above, they wanted to penetrate the 30-something, traditional BMW buyer segment and have totally failed. Market studies indicated that the target buyers would resist Jaguar, as it was seen (somewhat like MB, Cadillac and Lincoln) as an "old persons' " brand. This is a very difficult, but not impossible stereotype to break. The car was intended as a "young professionals' " product. The thinking was they'd then step up to S-Type, then XJ. As we learned with S-Type, the same people who'd bought XJ started buying the S, simply because it was something new. It's called sales canibalization, where you simply rob sales from yourself and don't increase market share. X-Type has ahd an imperceptible effect on competitive share, and few buyers shopping BMW switch to Jaguar.
< Also, the PR folks clearly allowed the crap about parts sharing with the Mondeo to get out of hand (less than 20% of the content is shared, and you know what ... I DON'T CARE if I have a Ford power window motor inside my Jaguar as long as it works!!). Platform and parts sharing happens in all car brands and it's simply not a big deal. >
Window motors are one thing, platforms are another. Jaguar must compete in segment with BMW & MB platforms that are exclusive, not based upon a mid-pack Ford. All research done before X-Type indicated strong market resistance to any Ford-platform based Jaguar. The press leapt on this and hasn;t let go.
< How they let this get to be such a major issue is beyond me. Maybe Ford/Jaguar should hire some folks away from Honda or Toyota as they've been pretty adept at sharing platforms without the negative publicity!! >
Marketplace expectations are competely different for Jaguar. The Japanse brands you mentioned are reaching up from the bottom. Further, their core mass-market product reputations for quality are impecible, whereas Jaguar's history is something of a millstone. Jaguar is trying to go downscale to increase volume & share while somehow maintaining an aura of exclusivity. The automotive press made sure X-Type's roots were well known. X-Type never passsed the "smell test" as far as the press was concerned.
< (Remember ... the Acura TSX is REALLY a Civic, the MDX is a Pilot, the Lexus ES is a Camry, etc!!)>
Different set of marketplace expectations.

and it's associated with the abysmal marketing efforts. Everywhere I have driven my car, the folks who comment on it or look at it have said the same thing ... they can't afford a Jaguar!! When I ask them what they'd guess the MSRP would be, they have all overshot by $5-10k. (Actually, this is not surprising since a BMW 330 with a similar size engine, auto, real leather, and AWD would sticker about $7,000 more than the X-Type). I will agree that this is a thorny and difficult issue ... how to let people know you have a strong vehicle at a very modest price point without making the brand sound cheap. I probably don't have the answer ... but then again, I'm not a $500k a year Marketing VP either!! If I were Ford, I'd look around and find some new folks and pay them to find an answer!! >
When it hit the market it was overpriced, not it's being "distress-marketed" with incentives, which means its residuals are low and thus the value advantage gets muddled. Residuals are set by ALG (Automtive Lease Guide) and they simply report actual street resale values. X-Type's not done well here at all.
<< With the X doing so well in the UK and Europe, maybe they should stick close to home and let some of those fine folks market the X over here!! >>
Because of taxation issues many of the sales in the UK & Europe are "executive" cars, i.e., what we would call company cars. Very low margins to the Company, though it does keep the lines running.
<< (As an aside, to overcome this problem, my local dealer has started advertising in a throw-away publication called Auto-Trader that is normally filled with cheapie used cars, which doesn't seem to me to be the "right" answer to this problem. A Jag ad mixed in with $700 ancient Toyotas? Even I know that's not the right target market!!)>
Maybe they need to hire you!!! (Who is the dealer?)

word!! <
That may indeed be the only way to save Jaguar. Over the last five years Ford have done a thoroughly miserable job of managing Jaguar in the States, their most important market. It's all the more infuriating when one considers that in 1996, with the launch of XK8, most of the automotive press was writing about "The Jaguar Miracle" and heaped praise on the Company for its rapid turnabout in sales volumes, quality, customer service, etc. It only took two years for Ford CEO Jac Nasser and his band of thugs & MBA idiots to trash the entire effort.
For example, in Feb. 1999 during S-Type launch Jaguar CEO Nick Scheele announced to the dealers the X-Type, with coupe, convertible and wagon variants, an F-Type high performance sports car, the XJ replacement launched last year and an all new XK to be launched in '04. Of the lot, only the XJ and X-Type 4 door & wagon have materialized. Turns out the X-Type platform can't be made into a coupe or convertible, the F-Type was cancelled completely, the XJ was launched a year late and the XK replacement is now two years past due.
Why did this happen? BAD MANAGEMENT!!!!

Even more unfortunate for Jaguar "their own people" have mostly retired or left for other auto Companys out of disgust. What's left is a bunch of clueless Ford MBAs who'd probably be just as happy to see Jaguar sold off, or dismembered.
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Jerry
Thanks for your comments. I would agree that the marketing for the X-Type was/is really messed up. Janet Jackson? Ummmm ... not my market demographic!
I was not aware that research showed resistance to a platform share, but they pressed ahead anyway. I guess from a marketing or sales point of view that's a serious mistake and they are now seeing the results of ignoring the research. My comments are more directed at the "real world" fact that I drive my X-Type every day, don't know a thing about a Mondeo, and I love what I drive AND the WAY it drives!!
I would continue to disagree about the Japanese brands (and VW as well) getting away with platform sharing. They get away with it, period. I've been in the PR game for a long time and they're just better at the game than Ford!!
Although I'm not inside the car industry at all (other than as a consumer!!), I can certinaly believe that the Ford MBA's are the real problem. I have worked in the public sector (military) for a long time, and am always amazed at how much these "corporate MBA" folks are paid for such mediocre work. In my circle of managers (officers), 99% of these guys wouldn't last 5 minutes!!
Cheers!!
Ken

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On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 08:28:32 -0700, Ken wrote:
What's wrong with platform sharing if it's done right? Ford has always shared platforms, a Taurus and a Sable are the same car with slightly different appointments. Daimler has just taken the Mercedes E class chassis, cheapened it up by replacing the aluminum components with steel, slapped a huge Chrysler Hemi engine in it and called it the Chrysler 300C. It's selling like hot cakes in spite of the fact that it has the visibilty of a submarine. The Acura TL is a Honda Accord with a bigger engine, many more standard features, and a better interior. It's not PR that makes people buy a TL it's the fact that Consumer Reports says it's the best car they've tested. When was the last time a Jaguar made any of the major drive train components in there cars? I suppose the V12 in the old E type was their's but the transmission probably wasn't. A small volume car has to use components that come from high volume cars. There are billions of dollars spent developing high volume cars and automating the production of the components. You don't want something that's handcrafted, that's a recipe for getting crap. You want something that's built to the high tolerances that only a fully automated production process can yield. Jaguar's problem is that it isn't integrated into the Ford family. You shouldn't have to travel 50 mile to find a Jaguar dealer, they should be selling them through Lincoln Mercury dealers. Sharing the same basic chassis as a Lincoln also shouldn't be a problem unless that chassis stinks. And if it does stink then Ford has a bigger problem because people expect a Lincoln to be a quality car also.
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On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 18:18:53 -0400, General Schvantzkoph

The current 4.2 litre AJ-V8 is a Jaguar designed and manufactured engine. This engine is currently installed in the engine rooms of the S-Type, S-Type R, XK8, XKR, XJ8, XJR and the XJSuperV8.
http://www.jagweb.com/aj6eng/v8_performance.html
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wrote:

Actually, it's a Jaguar design, but it's manufactured at the Ford engine plant at Bridgend, Wales. (Bridgend is a state-of-the art plant and is worth a vist if you're ever in Wales.) The old Jaguar engine plant at Radford was closed in '96.
The engine itself is a masterpeiece. and will soon replace the 4.4L BMW v8 that's current;y used un ti Range Rover. A variant is also used in the Lincoln LS.
Further, with the exception of first gen. S-Type and X-Type, Jaguar has used Gertrag, ZF or MB transmissions since '88 model year. The first generation S-Type used a terrible (but cheap) Ford 5 speed truck gearbox, and X-Type uses the same boxes as Mondeo.
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On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 09:19:54 -0700, "Ken"

I absolutely love mine. Perhaps the biggest reason they don't sell more, however, is the fact that dealerships are far and few between. Mine, for example, is 150 miles from where I live.
Mark '02 X-Type 2.5
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I love mine, too. I ordered it and waited 3 months to get it. My dealer is 95 miles away and I never stepped foot in their door until I signed for it and drove away. I must say I never noticed them until Jan '03. I always wondered why I see Janet Jackson posters with the X-type.
Who knew.
Wayne 03 X-Type Sport 2.5 manual trans
wrote: | | >I am beginning to think that the only people who write about their X-Types | >are either one of the tiny minority that got a bad one ... or someone who | >never drove one. Here's my take .. | | >Maybe we just need some more active, happy, X-Type owners to spread the good | >word!! | > | >Unfortunately for Jaguar, their own people are not. | | | I absolutely love mine. Perhaps the biggest reason they don't sell | more, however, is the fact that dealerships are far and few between. | Mine, for example, is 150 miles from where I live. | | Mark | '02 X-Type 2.5
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On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 09:19:54 -0700, "Ken"

Ken,
First let me say I am a huge fan of Jaguar cars, both old and new. But, I will have to respectfully disgree with your assessment of the X-Type. I have been given an X-Type 3.0(USA) as a service loaner on several occaisons. We have a S-Type R that has seen more than its fair share of time in the shop. The most recent loan was for over a week in which I drove the car almost 1000 miles. IMHO, the X-Type, while not a bad car, just doesnt measure up to its competition. The engine note is clearly corporate Ford and the car is just a bit tinny.
We also own a 2002 BMW 330xi. For a about the same or slightly higher price, there really is no comparison. I'm not sure where you priced your cars, but here we have a Jag & BMW dealer under the same roof. The prices were pretty close.
The BMW will run circles around the X-Type and the quality of the interior is no contest. I will admit, I do like the exterior styling even though it just looks really small sometimes. I think with some more improvements to the interior and a better engine and suspension, the X-Type may be a contender. Unfortunately for the X-Type, the new and greatly improved 3 series is waiting in the wings.
I just love our S-Type R and I dont believe there is a better car in the world for the money it cost. Its truely world class. I just cant have the same enthusiasm for the X-Type.
Jaggy
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Although I would agree that the BMW is a very nice car, my research showed far different pricing. I cut & pasted the figures for a comparable (apples to apples) 2005 BMW 330xi below (not sure how it will look in a newsreader, and I remember that the 2004 pricing for BMW was quite close to this). It shows a MSRP for the BMW at $43,495. Our X-Type's MSRP, equipped exactly the same, was just over $37,000. That's about $6,000 less ... when equipped the same. Add in the "deal" from Jaguar compared to our "what you see is what you pay" from the BMW guy and the real difference was much higher.
But, don't get me wrong ... the BMW is nice. I do beg to differ about the interior, though. In my opinion, there was the lack of a "personality" inside the BMW. Almost a sterile feeling. Beautiful though and absolutely top notch materials. Not sure what kind of loaner you got, but our '04 X-Type 3.0L Auto just reeks of style and the materials I see every day are top notch. I especially like the fact that Jaguar maintains the basic look between the X-Type and the XJ (no doubt designed that way to get you in the mood to make a future purchase within the "family"!!)
I am however totally envious of your S-Type R. When our lease runs out in a few years, it will be a major contender for the next spot in the garage!!
Cheers!!
Ken
2005 330xi Sedan
Destination Charge
$695
Exterior
Mystic Blue Metallic $475
Interior
Gray Leather $1,450
Myrtle Wood Trim
Packages
MSRP $37,450
Price as configured
$43,495
Options STEPTRONIC automatic transmission $1,275
Park Distance Control (rear) $350
BMW On-Board Navigation System $1,800
P ```"'Y! $`````+ `````*``H`0 ((A(^IR^T/ $8RL`.P`` ` end
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Ken,
Your pricing is pretty accurate. But, it seems like the BMW appeal is very regional. I dont know where you live, but in Western PA, BMWs are not the best selling cars out there and they do get discounted. Maybe not the X3 and X5, but the others do. We paid $35,700 for our 330xi in 2002. I was just looking at a 2005 to replace it and I was quoted $38,070 for 6 speed manual trans, titanium silver, black leather. No nav...dont need it...dont want it. That is only $2000 off the bottom line MSRP. I passed on the deal because I decided to wait for the new 2006 model. I agree, the car has a few less whistles and bells, but the price points are very similar.
But, here's where the rubber meets the road on the comparison. I was offered $20,500 for my 2002 BMW. This is about $300 more than NADA book value. A 2002 X-type with the same mileage would only trade in for about $13,500. Its one of those unfortunate realities with Jags.
So, after 3 years, I have an extra seven large in my pocket.
The service loaners are brand new 2004 X-Types with the 3.0 liter engine. One of them even had the sport package. All less than 3000 miles on the clock. I just dont smell the same reeking of style in the interiors that you do.
All that said, and I'm sure your still not convinced. So, enjoy your jag. Its a damn fine car, and, if you love it, thats all that really matters.
As for the S-Type R, its magical. I'm sure it will look great in the garage, next to the X-Type. Enjoy the ride.
T
On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 08:16:30 -0700, "Ken"

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\> But, here's where the rubber meets the road on the comparison. I was offered $20,500 for my 2002 BMW. This is about $300 more than NADA book value. A 2002 X-type with the same mileage would only trade in for about $13,500. Its one of those unfortunate realities with Jags.>
As per a former Jaguar CArs colleague whos' now with Primus (Jaguar's finance arm in the USA) X-Type has the lowest resale of any luxury segment model, and is in the bottom ten of ALL cars sold.
This is what happens when a manufacturer tries to hoodwink the public, in this case, branding a mid-level European Ford as a Jaguar. In the final analysis, the Euro-luxury customer is not easily fooled. The automotive press catches on first, then passes the word. Ford got EXACTLY what it deserved with this stupid maneauver, but, unfortunately, the Jaguar folks and their dealers got the shaft.
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