Jaguar History

A revered name in British motoring, Jaguar is in fact owned by India's Tata group. Jaguar was started in 1922 by Sir William Lyons as the Swallow Sidecar Company which produced motorcycle sidecars. But after World War II the ‘SS’ label was unfavourable because of the Nazi SS military-police connotation, and the company turned to automobile manufacture. The marque’s distinctive logo is a symbolic leaping cat.

Jaguar was known from early on as a maker of beautifully sculpted sports cars and sedans, most notably the XK120 of 1949 and the 1961 E-type. The company was also successful in motor racing, winning the 1951 and 1953 Le Mans 24-hour races. The company was merged into British Leyland in 1968 and was part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group (PAG) from 1989 to 2008, after which financial difficulties forced a sale, together with Land Rover, to Tata Motors, an Indian company.

Jaguar Models

Current models on sale in New Zealand are the X-Type, a slow-selling, unloved compact-executive car launched in 2001. It shares a manufacturing platform with the Ford Mondeo, and it’s expected that the model will die when this, its 1st generation, ends in 2010.

The XF is the successor to the S-Type. It’s a largeish executive sedan that’s won accolades and awards from the motoring press and the public alike for its stunning looks and attractive, revolutionary interior. It’s available as 3.0 litre V6 petrol, a 3.0 diesel which won the 2008 “Diesel Car of the Year” award, a 4.2 V8 and a 4.2 supercharged V8. There’s also the XFR, a hardcore version of the XF to frighten off BMW’s M5 and Audi’s RS6. The XFR features a 5.0 litre supercharged engine, as well as body modifications, sport seats and retuned suspension.

The XK is a gorgeous luxury grand tourer (GT) version that replaced the old XK8. It’s available as a 4.2 or 5.0 normally-aspirated coupe or convertible, as well as the XKR high-performance variant which comes with a choice of 4.2 supercharged or 5.0 supercharged engines.

Looking at buying a Jaguar? Check the vehicle history of any Jaguar by entering its number plate in the field above.