Jaguar is considering building its next-generation S-Type with an all-aluminium body, following the example of the marque's XJ executive saloon and upcoming XK coupé.

Jaguar is considering building its next-generation S-Type with an all-aluminium body, following the example of the marque's XJ executive saloon and upcoming XK coupé.


The only other current volume car with an aluminium body is the Audi A8 sedan.


"We are taking aluminum very seriously," Ian Callum, Jaguar Cars chief designer, told . "We have to consider using aluminium in more than just one model line."


Callum added that it would "absolutely make sense" to shorten the XJ platform for use in the next S-Type. "When you reduce the body mass, you can reduce the size of the other components, such as the size of the brakes."


Using aluminium would allow Jaguar to build the XJ and S-Type on the same assembly line at the Castle Bromwich plant in England. World sales of the S-Type totalled 55 000 units last year.


Aluminium is considerably lighter than steel and its application on car bodies can result in notably improved acceleration and fuel economy. However, the higher cost of aluminium argues against its use in non-premium vehicles, where prices are lower and profit margins narrower.


Switching to aluminium could divorce the S-Type from the platform it shares with the Lincoln LS. Industry analysts have decried that first platform-sharing move with Ford was the beginning of the end for Jaguar's brand exclusivity.


The S-Type is scheduled for a seven-year cycle, which would have the replacement launching in 2006, but Callum said the company was trying to get the new S-Type out a year ahead of schedule.


Callum says there is virtually no chance of using aluminium on the next X-Type saloon because of cost pressures.


Callum sees the real difficulty of aluminium being in the marketing of the car: "In Europe, they understand the power-to-weight equation and the benefit it has on fuel economy, while all the US customer sees is performance."

Original article from Car