Posted in Best Designed Cars

New Models Boost British Car Industry

From Bentley to Mini and electric cars to supercars, 2010 is proving a bumper year for new model launches in the British car industry.

After the credit crunch inflicted temporary closures and cutbacks to the major UK car plants, a range of ground-breaking new models are breathing fresh life back into the sector.

In an exciting series of launches, all-new metal from iconic British brands like Rolls Royce, Bentley, Land Rover, Mini, Aston Martin and Jaguar – and many more manufacturers besides – are set to roll off UK production lines.

In part one we looked at new car developments at the prestigious marques Bentley and Rolls Royce.

In this second of a series of articles, we take a look at the exciting new cars being developed by three very different but similarly iconic British car brands – Jaguar, Land Rover and Mini.

Mini

Recent announcements from Britain’s famous small-car brand, Mini, have shown the company to be working overtime on a startling array of new models.

Having already revealed a large-scale, five-seat SUV to be called the Countryman, rumours are that plans also include an even larger 7-seat ‘Countryman Plus’ and a three-seat coupe version called the ‘Canyon’.

Far removed from their name, the company is clearly thinking big about the future of the brand!

But as these larger new models will be built by the company’s Magna Steyr production partner in Austria, of more interest to watchers of the British industry will be two further new Mini models that have been confirmed for production in the UK.

Staying more true to the original car’s micro ideals will be a sporty two-door Coupe and a topless Roadster model, both of which were revealed in concept form at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

Already having won praise for the handling and sense of fun of its hatchback model, these two new Mini models are expected to take these brand values to new levels, with sharper driving dynamics and featuring the company’s most powerful engines.

The new sporting pair have received the green light for production at the company’s Cowley plant in Oxfordshire, where the Mini hatchback, convertible and Clubman models are already built. Although neither are expected to hit the roads until 2011.

Land Rover

Further north at Midlands-based 4×4 specialist Land Rover, preparations are well advanced to unveil a new baby model in the company’s range.

To be called the Evoque, the company promises that the styling of their all-new compact Range Rover will remain true to the striking LRX concept and claim it will offer buyers “a desirable, premium and coupe like SUV”.

Evidently having noticed the sales success of ‘soft roaders’ like the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage, most of which are sold in 2WD guise, this new baby Range Rover will also be the company’s first ever model to offer customers the option of having a two wheel drive only powertrain.

Quite a mould-breaking way to celebrate this year’s 40th anniversary of the first appearance of the Range Rover brand!

The production version of the Evoque is in the final stage of preparation and expected to be revealed at the Paris motor show in September, ahead of first deliveries to customers in 2011.

Jaguar

Not to be left out of the fun of having a new model to parade, Jaguar recently launched its all-new flagship XJ.

Hoping to win another round of plaudits following the praise heaped on the company’s recent XF model, the new XJ executive limo similarly reinvents the company’s design heritage with a sleek, head-turning new shape.

The company has promised that its Merc S-Class and BMW 7-series rival will be packed with the latest high tech kit but with plenty of wood and leather inside will still maintain the company’s traditional old-school charm.

Following the success of the XF, hopes are high that the new range topper will also maintain the brand’s trademark mix of refinement and driving dynamics.

The all-new car has already started rolling off the company’s Coventry production lines, although so far it remains a rare sight on the roads.

But that’s far from the end of the new car story for the ‘big cat’ marque.

The company has recently revealed drawings of an estate version of the XF, plus announced the go-ahead for two further all-new models – a spiritual sporting successor to the E-Type and a stunning all-new replacement for the smallest Jag in the range, the X-Type.

It’s busy times in Britain’s car industry!