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Quirky Japanese carmaker Mitsuoka has once again created a Japanese homage to a classic British automobile. This time around Mitsuoka has a unique take on a compact sedan whose styling has been influenced by what looks like the Jaguar Mk2.
The car is called the Viewt and while it looks luxurious, its underpinnings are based around a very humble Nissan Micra. There are three different versions available, with engines ranging from the 1.2 base model to the high-spec 1.5-liter unit and outputs ranging from 90- to 109-horsepower.
Little else is known about the car except that this is surprisingly the third generation of the Viewt and it is ready to make its global debut at the upcoming 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.
If the Viewt is a little too small for your needs, then Mitsuoka will also be happy to sell you a Rolls Royce-esque limousine or if the Viewt is too large then you can check out the company’s tiny city car that resembles a 1930’s racer.
Five-door coupes are the latest automotive trend and now it’s Jaguar that’s preparing to join the club. Reports are coming in that a compact hatch, similar to Audi’s new A5 Sportback, is in the works. Possibly an evolution of the R-D6 concept Jaguar first showed way back in 2003. It’s now being called the RD7, and will feature rear suicide doors and a side-hinged rear hatch.
As Jaguar’s X-Type is steadily being phased out overseas, the logic is that an entry-level model is required to compete in the compact premium segment. Apparently Jag is considering both a three-door and a five-door version of this future model, which would most likely be built on a slimmed down XF platform. Power is rumoured to come from a 2.7-litre diesel V6.
Whatever the final form of the RD7, it may be a fair wait before it’s seen in showrooms but cash coming in from the popular XF and the recently revealed full-size XJ might help speed things up a bit, too.
When the economy declines it’s luxury vehicles that struggle most. Jaguar and Land Rover haven’t been the most profitable automakers for quite a while, and parent company Tata is about to take drastic measures to stem the blood loss. Tat is currently studying which of the two Jaguar/Land Rover plants it should shut to try and rectify some of the losses; Solihull or Castle Bromwich.
It sounds severe, but the pain of closing a plant (about 40 percent of JLR’s production overhead is going unused) could be what prevents outright failure. Production has been slowed already, while jobs have been cut and wages frozen, so word of the closing is just more bad news. But Jaguar Land Rover CEO David Smith is committed to taking “decisive actions” to see the troubled marques through.
The union, naturally, is unhappy, and a meeting will be going forward between the company and GMB officials to determine what actions might be taken on both sides.
According to recent reports Jaguar is busy developing a new, smaller sports car designed to take on Porsche’s Boxster convertible and its hardtop Cayman sibling.
The new model is expected to be produced in roadster and coupe form and has been named the XE by the motoring press.
Slotting into the Jaguar line-up beneath the XK coupe and convertible, the smaller XE is thought to be an important component in a overall product plan that would see Jaguar building more than 100,000 cars a year by 2015.
It will feature an all-new aluminum platform that will eventually form the basis of the next-generation XK, XF and even the XJ through 2015 and beyond. It will reportedly be a common aluminum matrix, housing the engine up front with power sent to the rear wheels.
In regards to the XE’s powertrain expect to see a gasoline naturally-aspirated V6 producing around 205kW. A supercharged version kicking out 260kW is also suggested as a range-topping variant.
All details of the XE remain unconfirmed as Jaguar is still exploring the production viability of the new entry-level sportscar. If it does go ahead 2013 is the earliest possible launch date.
It’s hard to know what’s really happening at Tata and Jaguar Land Rover at the moment. Sales for the Jaguar XF continue steadily and the XJ looks promising but the JLR division lost £673.4 million pounds last year, and parent company Tata was also deep in the red at the end of its 2008 fiscal year. With that in mind and a so-far unfulfilled quest for financing, Tata has been busy discussing the need to shed production workers.
Now, strangely a report says that due to “forecasts of strong demand” for the refreshed Land Rover Discover and Range Rover Sport, the Solihull plant will need to increase production. Workers who’ve been on shortened hours since the March will now go back to a five-day work week. That’s good news for the employees and hopefully for Tata.
Workers at Land Rover’s Halewood plant aren’t so lucky with the Freelander factory being shut down intermittently because of low demand.