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Jaguar quiets naysayers with reliability

September 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Jaguar has always made handsome sports and luxury cars. But when they'd come up in conversation, a weak spot was always front and center: reliability. Jaguars were never known for it.

Today, high-end buyers expect better.

"Everything from the power trains to the fit and finish to the overall reliability, it all has to be spot-on," said Rob Filipovic of Jaguar USA. "And it's not even just comparing us to the other luxury automotive brands, it's comparing us to every brand that they experience."

The carmaker must be doing something right. Jaguar sales are way up, as are owner satisfaction scores.

The brand was acquired by Ford in 1990. Now it's part of an Indian conglomerate. Both parent companies made quality a priority for the British-built car.

"Very reliable and unbelievable. You don't know that car until you put your foot in it, and it's amazing," said Hermosa Beach resident Greg Tucker, the owner of a Jaguar. "It's like driving a living room as fast as you can on steroids."

For companies selling high-end luxury cars these days, they almost have to have a performance sub-brand. Mercedes has AMG, BMW has M, and even Cadillac, Lexus and Infiniti have their own performance lines. If you're looking at a Jaguar and you want the "hot" model, you're going to look at the R.

Performance? Check. Reliability? Check. Now the brand has to get on board with a little bit of "green" to satisfy future fuel economy and emissions standards. The current cars are a little thirsty with only V-8 engines, but Jaguar says it's making changes.

"You'll see a lot more diversity within the Jaguar product range over the next 12 to 24 months, and we are very committed to meeting all those standards in the future," Filipovic said.

If a premium ride is in your future, don't be so quick to cross Jaguar off your shopping list. They've come a long way since the days when everyone joked about them always breaking down.


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