Geneva Motor Show 2013 : JLR round-up

Words and photography Andrew Elphick


In the middle of hall five, spanning adjacent stands Tata’s luxury brands, Jaguar and Land Rover stood bold as brass – and with good reason. AROnline was present at the press conference, and here our the best bits, just for you:

First up, making its European launch was the XFR-S saloon (above), a striking ‘smurf blue’ among the sobriety of the accompanying stand-fillers.  Key points of the fastest Jaguar saloon ever produced are: 542bhp. 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds, 186mph maximum speed – yours for £79,995. This brute (discretion is not a key point) even managed to overshadow the new F-Type.

The F-Type is now almost ready for customers, so to confirm its sporting credentials Jaguar screened a short film. Sixty years ago, famed factory test driver Norman Dewis made motoring folklore – you might remember the famous 172mph dash in an experimental XK120, along the arrow straight Belgian highway in Jabbeke. Of course 172mph is now standard fare for people carriers, so Jaguar upped the ante: 0-179-0mph… in two miles! A proud Norman manned the press conference in Geneva, while we watched Andy Wallace exercise the F-Type – take a look for yourself:

Second movie on the bill was hopeful viral movie Desire produced by Ridley Scott Associates, and fronted by Homeland hero/bad guy Damian Lewis. The trailer looked good, but can it usurp the creator of the genre, BMW’s The Hire series of Internet films?

Ratan Tata accompanied protégé Cryus Mistry Chairman of JLR parent group Tata.
Ratan Tata accompanied protégé Cryus Mistry Chairman of JLR parent group Tata.

Introduced by JLR CEO Ralf Speth, Speth highlighted the upcoming workforce explosion with the new Wolverhampton engine production facility, the new nine-speed automatic transmission (a production car first) and hinted three further JLR products would shortly be announced.

Then from the future, the past appeared: The Defender, or more precisely the Defender Electric. Despite outwardly representing a standard Defender (despite the taxed prototypes big red dash mount EMERGENCY STOP button) the Electric has a 330Nm motor and just a 100kg weigh penalty. Not blessed with a wonderful range, it could however be a huge ‘municipal’ seller. A shame then that it disappeared after only one day on the stand, replaced by a standard station wagon.

The next Defender announcement met a thunderous clap when the ‘Race2Recovery’ rally team took centre stage. The team of British servicemen were the first disabled team to complete the Dakar Rally in January – 8570km of harsh terrain beaten in Defender (nee’ Bowler) Wildcat. Thumbs up to the team from AROnline!

So after a half hour slot, Ralf Speth bid us good day and JLR’s top brass happily mingled among the crowd – see you next year.

Cyrus Mistry, Phillip Gillespie, Tom Neathway, Ratin Tata, Ralf Speth, Andrew Taylor, Adrian Hallmark
Cyrus Mistry, Phillip Gillespie, Tom Neathway, Ratan Tata, Ralf Speth, Andrew Taylor, Adrian Hallmark
Keith Adams


  1. JLR On the crest of a wave! Smurf Blue is a good colour description for the XFR-S. Tremendous car and I could just about afford one, but would never need that size car or power output..

  2. Jaguar is really starting to look like a British Mercedes. Not only is the product right, but the whole way the company presents itself is confident and forward looking. Wonderful to see. Can we see some more features on this site about the transformation at JLR, rather than the constant hand wringing over how few cars MG has sold this month?

  3. Hmm, I still don’t like that spoiler! Otherwise – chapeau to JLR – great range of cars, and according to a friend who works for them, they can’t build enough!

  4. Time for the new small Jaguar and a cross over Rover TCV type vehicle to be sold in LR deealers. Then watch the volume fly towards 600,000. JLR is turning into what BL specialist division should have become if it had not been dragged down by Austin Morris division. SAIC are looking poor in comparison.

  5. We all to a degree have a (futile?) dream that MG motor will succeed and carry our great car building heritage into the future.

    It won’t.

    JLR has just as much BMC/BL/Rover DNA in it, and that we must appaud.
    Look at their investment, their vision, their passion, the jobs they are creating… a recession, and here in the UK!

    And to top it off, the Man at the top is out there talking to journalists.
    (by the way, who is the boss at SAIC…….?)

  6. I, for one remain deeply impressed with what JLR are up to in general. Lets hope the growth continues and they can build the Jaguar brand like they have the Land Rover/Range Rover.

    Could the Rover brand hold the future to real volume for them? Look what VW did with the Skoda brand…

  7. An article in the Business section of the Sunday Times dated 24th February 2013 suggests that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to build 750,000 vehicles by 2016-17. This is a hugely ambitious figure and it does make you wonder what additional new products the company will be unveiling over the next 3-4 years in order to achieve this.

    Even with replacements for the current Range Rover Sport, Land Rover Discovery, Freelander and Defender, not to mention Jaguar XF and XK, JLR will not achieve this by these vehicles alone. Or with the aid of their forthcoming new entry-level saloon, to sit below the XF.

    There clearly is a raft of new models beyond this to add to the current product portfolio. Good luck to them, as appreciation towards the existing models, whether in road-tests or those visiting showrooms, confirms that JLR really is making fantastic progress.

  8. Looking at what a Jaguar dealer has available to sell, one has to query the lack of a replacement for the X-type. BMW’s biggest seller is the similar sized 3 Series. In the premium market place in Europe and many other places, this is the biggest segment. Even in the USA the 3-series sells well.

    OK the success of the XF has helped Jaguar dealers no end, (a bit like the Fiat 500 with their dealers, as they have little else !!), but for volume there surely has to be an X-type replacement and it will need to have many common parts with the XF to minimise costs. I would see something that looks a bit like a baby XF at a price in the middle to upper of the range for this class of car

  9. There’s an X-Type replacement similar to what you describe in development. There’s even been some sightings of test mules.

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