PETER HORBURY is happy as a clam designing Volvos for Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Why? Because Volvo chief Stephan Jacoby and Geely chairman Li Shufu are said to be giving Horbury free reign to design Volvos that look like Volvos. Some of the latest models, like the new S60 have gotten away from traditional Volvo styling. While it's a handsome car, the S60's profile is perhaps more Asian than Swedish. Consider Horbury's 1999-2006 S80, which combined Horbury's affinity for clean, organic styling with Volvo's traditionally "unstyled" boxes. Geely is showing much respect for Volvo's unusual position in the automotive hierarchy. After Li Shufu said he wanted Volvo to compete with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, Jacoby last year suggested that perhaps the Swedish brand couldn't sustain that position. Li Shufu responded to Jacoby's resistance, saying, "My thinking may not always be right, that's why we need group discussions. I respect Volvo has its own core values and history"...Its marketing department is GM's most controversial and for the next decade, its most important. Post-bankruptcy. Ed Whitacre quickly promoted Susan Docherty as the automaker's veep of sales, service, and marketing, then just as quickly took her down, banishing her to a Siberian post. Now comes Joel Ewanick, the Hyundai Assurance Program architect whom GM grabbed just weeks after he left for Nissan. After barely half a year as GM's North American marketing veep, Ewanick has been promoted to the automaker's global chief marketing officer. Why? He immediately fixed Cadillac's marketing strategy, scrapping the newly hired navel-gazer ad firm Bertie Bo?le Hegarty for the Minneapolis firm, Fallon Worldwide (which left Chrysler without an ad agency, as Fallon couldn't work for both). Fwanick is said to have a good B.S. detector, which will be important in a decade in which good marketing is the most important contributor to sales success... Lotus advisor Bob Lutz gives the sports carmaker's chances of succeeding with five new models 60 percent. I'd say that's being a cockeyed optimist. Lotus owner Proton needs outside money to make it work. ■
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JAGUAR'S XF sports car and a new, small sedan are in the pipeline."Jaguar should be able to generate the investment internally to make it a five-car company/says Carl-Peter Forster, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover's parent Tata Motors.The five cars are the XJ sedan, XF (a wagon will be added for Europe, at least, this year), the XK sports car, a compact sports car in Porsche Boxster/Cayman price territory, and a small sedan.
The 2013 sports car is front-engined, using both V-6 and turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Jaguar will eventually put a four-cylinder into even the XJ, Forster told Motor Trend. The four-pot is likely to be a version of the Ford Ecoboost, as used by the Land Rover Qvoque, adapted for longitudinal installation. The V-6 will be derived from Jaguar's own high-tech direct-injection V-8, which implies a capacity of 3.7 liters.
It will come as a coupe and convertible. The design's surfacing has a distinct
Jaguar takes on i Boxster/Cayman and
relationship to the C-X75 concept, with feline bulges over the front wheels and fender vents behind them. The roadster has a tapering boat tail, while the coupe has a fastback rear screen and side windowline echoing theXK.
The sports car is aluminum bodied, Forster explained, saying this is Jaguars core expertise. "We own that. The cost is comparatively low for us so we can do almost all our cars in aluminum. It saves 300 pounds a car."
The small sedan will follow a year or two later, and its structural basis is still being defined. Carl/ designs feature a shallow glasshouse and extremely tapered roof and fastback. At front and rear are shallow, angular light clusters and a further trapezoidal evolution of the grille type on the XJ sedan.
"The new small sedan is more "pointed"in design than rival cars
[BMW 3 Series, Audi A4] because it doesn't need their big sales volumes," Torster says.
Whether the new sedan will share all-aluminum construction with the small sports car or take some steel platform elements from the XF remains open. But the XF is a big, heavy car that will switch to aluminum in its next generation, so aluminum seems likely for the smaller car, too. ■ paul horrell
THREE months after announcing a trio cf supercars jsing a supercharged version of the Lexus-Yamaha V-8, Lotus CEO Dany Bahar says the company is looking at designing its own engine instead.
"I believe that if you're selling a $160,000-plus sports car, not having yrxir own engine is a disadvantage," he says. "So we're doing a feasibility study to see if wp ran Ho our own roaH-rar engine. The Lexus engine is ready for the Esprit, the first of our new cars to launch, but we still have the choice." Lotus' engineering division certainly has the ability to do engines, and has done several high-profile ones for clients over the years.
Bahar stressed that Lotus' overall investment budget in
Depends on saving money from five-car plan
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