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Ford finally gets it right - just in time to lose it

Editorial Staff

Ford sold Aston Martin to an investment company and then put Jaguar and Range Rover up to sale, recently declaring TATA of India to be the preferred bidder. It's yet another faux pas in the recent history where, so far as the company's accounts are concerned, it's any colour you want so long as it's red.

For the past few years, Jaguar has suffered the indignity of being a sports car that was a fake Aston Martin or a luxury car whose styling was stolen by run of the mill Ford cars in the USA. But there's been a sudden, dramatic change and Jaguar has produced a car which is decidedly Jaguar - the XF.

True enough, there are accents of Ford Puma around the rear when seen from the side, and the front quarter looks a bit like a VW Passat. And the wheels look like someone's been left to play too long with the "customiser's catalogue." and, again, in profile, the front looks like an MG from ten years ago.

The windows are too small - giving the impression of a pill-box. The roof line fades away and then kicks like a Volvo S80. The thick central door pillars stand are incongruous against the wafer thin A pillars. From the front, the headlights look like the eyes of someone with a terrible hangover. The grill seems to have been designed by an someone who has seen too many Doctor Who monsters with shiny heads and open mouths.

But somehow, there is something about this car that screams "I am me, and you can't take that away."

The door mirrors are perfect. The door handles are pure Jaguar. The interior is what Jaguars once were and always should be. And it sits perfectly - one knows that it will ride just as well.

Does anyone spot the irony? MG Rover started to make the cars they should have been making all along, then BMW sold it. Range Rover and Land Rover have recently upped their game significantly. Now Jaguar has brought out the car it should have been making all along, just in time for Ford to decide to sell it.

Surely the message is clear: foreign owners just don't know when they have a good thing in the British motor industry. They don't invest until it's too late, then they put money in and allow the developers their heads, then decide not to wait for a return on that investment.

It's tragic.