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Stageside Chats with Ian Callum - 2006 Edition
By MSC Staff; photos courtesy Ford Motor Company
Aug 8, 2006, 16:26 PST
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This is becoming something of a good habit. Since 2004, we have been making time to sit down with Ian Callum, Jaguarís lead designer, and a critical figure in Jaguarís recovery from its current ailing state. We look forward to seeing the fruits of Jaguar's hard labor as they fight hard to regain their status as a desirable and successful brand. With Ian Callum directing Jaguar's design, we have great faith in a good outcome.


MSC: How is the company now since we first met in 2004 (before the concept car for the new coupe was shown, just at the time where Ian was making slight updates to the S-type).


Ian: "Design is now more important. It is still second to driving dynamics. In the last 5 years, the company has had the realization that people buy by sight."



MSC: In regards to the new coupe, is the production coupe exactly like the concept coupe? Were there remaining challenges in bringing the design into manufacturing reality, or were there management decisions to change anything in the design?


Ian: "The fenders were difficult. (note: the aluminum fender panels feature some of the deepest draws ni the industry, and engineering as well as an aesthetic feat). The car is exactly the same as the concept, except for the bumpers."


MSC: What will be the key product to turn Jaguar around?


Ian: "The next S-type. It will be a clear statement of something dramatically different from Jaguar. The coupe is not a radical change from the XK8" {see; note especially the final quote; ďWell, people say, Ďitís not radical enough.í Well, thereís not need to be radicalÖit just has to be right.Ē}



MSC: Are you working on both the S-Type and the new XJ while doing any finishing touches to the new convertible?


Ian: "I am working on all 3Öor soÖcars right now."


MSC: How have you seen the publicís perception of the new coupe change since the conceptís unveiling last year?


Ian: "Once they see the car on the road they say itís dramatic! We already have 6 months worth of orders. A lot of people made comments on it based on the photos. If you ask me what I think of a car based on the photo, Iíll say ĎI donít know.í


"We are replacing a very good car Ė it doesnít have to be radically different. The tapered tail, the narrow cabin; Triumph did it, Jag has done it Ė itís a very British thing to do.


[in response to comments made about the grille looking very much like the Ford Taurus grille]: "Itís a D-type and E-type grille. Itís even the same grille as the XJ13.


[Ian discusses the design of the convertible]: "We designed the convertible before we designed the coupe, partially because we sell more [convertibles]. You have to design the tub line to be perfect Ė and itís easier to add the top than it is to chop it off.


"Itís hard to get drama out of a bathtub. I mean, it is a bathtub Ė itís long, itís got a hole in it, you sit in it (Editorís note - but we hope you wonít fill it up with water!).


"Thereís tension in the roofline of the coupe. [if you start with a coupe and chop the roof off] the convertible will look flat, horizontal; you need the rear [of the bathtub/cockpit] to be taller.


"Thereís an old Scottish principle: if it is more difficult, it must be better.


"There was a lot of time spent on the interior. The whole layout was specified at the start, and we worked hard on making everything familiar to the common man."



MSC: What can you tell us about the structure of the car?


Ian: "Because we started with the convertible, we made a very strong lower chassis. So in the coupe, there is no real B-pillar. The convertible will have the same structural stiffness as the old coupe; the coupe will be stiffer than the 5-series.


[also] "The suspension mounts are common with the XJ."


MSC: Do Jaguarís financial, etc., problems distract the designers?


Ian: "No. Our designers are focused and talented. They are worried, but not distracted. The financial problems may be a driving force.


"In the development of the new S-type, we have shortened our lead time by 6 months. Thatís due to efficiency, determination, and focus."





There exists much Jaguar heritage in this new XK's grille.





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