Birmingham & Black Country

Jaguar Land Rover 'star' of Frankfurt Motor Show

C-X16 sports car
Image caption Jaguar's new C-X16 sports car was unveiled in Frankfurt on Thursday night

Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover has been the star of this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, after it unveiled not one, but three new concept cars.

The launch of the new models came as both Jaguar and Land Rover have been enjoying a period of strong sales fuelled, in part, by a growing number of orders from markets abroad, including China and India.

First to be unveiled was Jaguar's C-X16 sports car.

It has been described by some as the "spiritual successor" to the iconic E-Type.

It has a petrol V6 engine, which is assisted by an electric motor, making it one of the first hybrid sports cars.

While some have been disappointed that the car does not look more like the old E-Type, Jaguar's director of design, Ian Callum, said this was just not possible.

He said: "We all loved the E-type Jaguars. It was very much part of the 60s.

"Legislation then was actually relatively straightforward. You couldn't build an E-Type now. You couldn't get the extremity of form that that car actually had."

'Halo' car

The new model has been designed to rival the Porsche 911, but more importantly it is seen as one of the greenest sports cars, emitting 165g/km of C02.

Despite being relatively fuel efficient, the car can still accelerate from 0 to 100km/h (62mph) in 4.4 seconds.

Ken Gibson, motoring editor for the Sun newspaper, said: "Jaguar has done a great job over the last few years producing very good saloon cars.

"But they desperately needed a 'halo' car. And this is the halo car for the brand.

Image caption Land Rover has taken the wraps off its DC100 concept car

"This will attract new younger buyers and it'll make Jaguar ultra desirable again."

At the show Land Rover has taken the wraps off its DC100 concept car - expected to be the replacement for the company's Defender model.

Earlier this month Jaguar Land Rover announced the Defender was being "retired" after more than 50 years in production.

The new model is much more stylish than the Defender with its distinctive 'corners'. That should make the vehicle much more desirable to a wider market than before.

The Defender has been popular with farmers and military customers, but has only ever sold in small numbers.

Those attending Tuesday's show were taken by surprise when Jaguar Land Rover unveiled a third concept car, the DC100 Sport, an open-top car which is a derivative of the updated Defender.

Jaguar and Land Rover are spending about £7bn on new models, engines and technology over the next five years.

The investment aims to help both companies keep up with foreign competitors and broaden the appeal of the line-up.

Enterprise zone

The first real evidence of that has come with the recent launch of the new Range Rover Evoque, which has enjoyed healthy advance orders.

The Evoque has been designed to appeal to the younger car buyer.

Last year Jaguar Land Rover announced it was reversing a decision to close one of its two West Midlands factories, in Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham, and Solihull.

The company said it was accelerating its plans for growth, hence the decision to retain the two plants.

The new concept models, unveiled on Tuesday, provide evidence that Jaguar Land Rover is now pushing ahead with those plans.

The company could announce soon that it will build new engine plants in India and the UK.

A site called i54, near Wolverhampton, is expected to be named for the UK factory.

The same site has recently been selected as one of the region's first Enterprise Zones. Companies setting up there will pay lower taxes and benefit from relaxed planning regulations.

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