The chairman of Jaguar Land Rover’s parent firm says the company will never build another iconic car like the Jaguar E-Type because of the plethora of requirements for modern cars.
Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata told the Birmingham Post that the E-Type, designed and built in the West Midlands, was the last iconic car made by JLR – and likely to be the last one ever.
While he said the company had developed a host of new models which were “tremendous”, he said the changes in regulation meant the car designed by Malcolm Sayer in the 1950s would never be replicated.
However, Mr Tata said a host of new models set to be introduced by JLR in the coming years – not least the F-Type roadster – meant the car giant was in a stronger position than when Tata Motors took it over in 2008, against a backdrop of economic gloom.
He said: “We have announced a concept car, the F-Type, and we will be launching that soon. How the market reacts will tell us if we have succeeded.
“We will never be able to have an iconic car in today’s context because we have got pedestrian injury equipment, emissions requirements, various safety requirements that almost dictate what the car looks like. When the E-Type was produced they were free of these things.”
Despite Mr Tata’s reservations, the new F-Type has been likened to the E-Type by many.
Enzo Ferrari described the E-Type as “the most beautiful car ever made”, a legacy that has been both a blessing and a source of pressure on Tata Motors since the Mumbai-based firm took over Jaguar Land Rover in 2008.
While Mr Tata said the climate for building cars is different to the days of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons, he hoped to bring back the level of leadership shown when the company was at the forefront of automotive technology.
He said: “The E-Type was in the sixties and since then we haven’t built an iconic sports car. Sir William Lyons’ whole approach was to build an association with sports cars and we competed and won Le Mans for many years and brought that technology into the cars.
“Jaguar was always a brand for fast cars. It was never a Rolls-Royce or Bentley but at that time it was leading the way for new technologies.