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Tuesday, October 20, 1998 Published at 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK

Business: The Company File

Jaguar must pounce for Ford

Ford hopes its new Jaguar model will stop the slide

It is not just Rover that is pinning its hopes, and those of its parent company, on new models being launched in Birmingham this week.

Rover's problems are a mirror image of the situation at Jaguar, owned by the US car company Ford.

Here all hopes are pinned on the new S-Type, which according to Jaguar marks the start of a new era for the carmaker.

It adds a third model to Jaguar's range and is based on the classic Mark 2 model.

However, it will not be the company's top cat, at least in terms of pricing. The XJ series will continue to be Jaguar's most expensive car.

Nonetheless, the new car cost £450m ($764.6m) to develop and will be followed up by another "baby Jaguar" that is still under development.

Ford managers hope that the new models will allow their British subsidiary to double output.

Ultimately the company wants to stretch the brand to around 500,000 cars a year, approaching the levels of BMW and Mercedes without diluting quality.

That would justify Ford's original £1.6bn purchase price and subsequent investment.

More than 600,000 people are expected to visit the Birmingham International Motor Show, which has 300 exhibits from companies in 30 countries.

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