Jaguar is a British subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company and is present in both the performance and luxury car markets. The original company was founded in 1922 as the Swallow Sidecar company, which was later renamed as Jaguar, after World War II. After many transformations and mergers, Jaguar was nationalized as the British Leyland (BL) Limited in 1975. Later, in 1984, Jaguar again became a private company, before being taken over by Ford in 1989-1990. It is now a part of Fords Premier Automotive Group, along with Aston Martin, Volvo and Land Rover.
Although Jaguar has been making cars since 1922, the real breakthrough came with the XK 120 sports model in 1948. This car with a 3.5 liter, 6 cylinder engine, was a great hit in the sports car market. In 1951, Jaguar launched the Mark VII saloon in the US, which eventually won the Monte Carlo rally in 1956. Later on, many models like the Mark VIII, Mark IX, Mark X, the S-type and the XJ (Series I to III) made significant strides in the market.
In the late 1990s, Jaguar launched the new XK8 coupe, powered by an AJ-V8, 4.0 liter, 290 hp, 32-valve quad cam engine. The Jaguar F type concept roadster was launched in 2000 and was praised as the most compact sports car with a great design.
Jaguar launched a special edition of the XK8 called the Silverstone. All cars in the model were painted in silver color, and came equipped with Jaguars innovative CATS (Computer Advanced Technology Suspension), 20 inch Pirelli alloy wheels and Brembo 4-piston brakes with aluminium calipers. The model became an instant success, forcing Jaguar to increase the production of Silverstones.
In 2001, the X type was launched as the Small Jaguar. This car, which was a 4-door sedan with a 2.5/3.0 liter V6 engine, was launched at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show. It had a unique two bearing top strut mount at the front suspension along with 2F speed-sensitive power steering. Bit the most notable feature of this car was the all-wheel drive system.
In 2003, Jaguar launched diesel-powered cars, in collaboration with PSA Peugeot Citroen of France. These cars are based on the latest CRD (Common Rail Diesel) technology and offer smooth and sophisticated performance. In the summer of 2003, Jaguar launched JP1, in association with Jonathan Palmer, an ex-F1 racer. This racing car can do 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and has awesome power. Another great car from Jaguar is the Concept 8. With a full-length glass roof and many other luxury amenities, this is quite a sensational car.
The Jaguar looks and power has won it many appearances in fiction and films. The Jaguar Mark 2 had featured in many British movies like Robbery, Mona Lisa and Get Carter. It was also driven by Inspector Morse in the famous British television series. A Union Jack painted Jaguar E type called Shaguar was driven by Austin Powers. A Jaguar XKR was used in the 2002 James Bond movie, Die another day. Jaguar has also found mention in many pop songs.
Jaguar also has some famous customers. These include the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Robbie Williams and Jennifer Lopez. In fact, Jaguars have always been unique in their style and performance and they still remain streets ahead of other cars in power and perfection.