- Jaguar has developed a new, all-aluminum lightweight platform architecture that will eventually provide the basis for its complete lineup.
- The new architecture, called iQ[Al] is significant because it allows the company to offer the technology on more affordable cars.
- The first of these will appear in 2015, when Jaguar's competitor to the BMW 3 Series sedan is launched.
LONDON — Jaguar has developed a new, all-aluminum lightweight platform architecture that will eventually provide the basis for its complete lineup.
The new architecture, called iQ[Al] is significant because it allows the company to offer the technology on more affordable cars. Jaguar already sells several aluminum-bodied models in the shape of the Jaguar XJ sedan, the XK coupe and convertible and the new Jaguar F-Type.
The first of these more affordable offerings will appear in 2015, when Jaguar's unnamed competitor to the BMW 3 Series sedan is launched.
The new Jaguar sedan "will be the most advanced, refined and efficient car yet seen in this class," according to Steven De Ploey, Jaguar Land Rover global product marketing director.
The new platform architecture is described as an "approach" by company executives.
"Each (car) structure is defined and driven by customer and brand requirements rather than cost and scale economy imperatives," said Kevin Stride, Jaguar vehicle line director. "There's plenty of flexibility, and a vast range of new cars are possible."
At the heart of this new architecture is the fact that "it's more about process rather than component sharing," said Stride.
For example, Station 33 on the assembly line must do much the same thing for each different model, using the same rivet-bonding technique and metals of the same gauge. But the actual parts being joined together needn't be identical.
"It's not the same part, but it's the same process," Stride said. "It's not a common platform strategy, like Volkswagen's MQB platform, which we respect greatly. But it still gives efficiency of cost and design.
"It's a toolbox. It's about efficiency as an enterprise, rather than of cost and scale. And we're less committed to the architecture's hard-points than VW is for its MQB platform. Take the front-end module — we're much more flexible in terms of the shape it allows, the headlamp design and so on. We need to deliver the Jaguar DNA, so it has less hard points. It's an assembly philosophy."
Stride adds that developing iQ[Al] has been "a vast undertaking. It's a clean sheet design, and harnesses the Jaguar DNA of Innovative Technology, Seductive Design and Intelligent Performance."
Now that Jaguar, and Land Rover, has more than a dozen years of manufacturing aluminum-bodied cars, Stride reckons that "no one matches JLR's aluminum technology."
Stride also believes that this new platform philosophy will allow Jaguar to launch "more great cars, faster, and a much wider span of models, so that we can respond with the right models at the right time."
Edmunds says: If Jaguar's iQ[Al] platform delivers, it will soon be offering the performance, economy and handling advantages of lightweight auto technologies at a lower price. And it will be a refreshing novelty to see Jaguar launching new products on or ahead of the curve — something it hasn't achieved for decades.