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Forster plans to fill Jaguar, Land Rover gaps

Automotive News reports on Jaguar and Land Rover new models.

LONDON--Tata Motors CEO Carl-Peter Forster plans to move quickly to fill gaps in the Jaguar and Land Rover lineups.

"Over the next few years we plan to nearly double our vehicle selection," he told Automobilwoche, a German sister publication of Automotive News.

Tata Motors is the parent company for the two brands. Forster, the former head of General Motors in Europe, joined Tata in February. He and Ralf Speth, the new Land Rover and Jaguar chief, recently took inventory of the brands.

"We didn't actually have to start at zero, but there were many gaps in the portfolio," Speth said. "We had to initially consider what the brands should look like and what models we should have. We are building additional variations on existing models, we are launching new model lines and we are investing in new engines."

Forster said Tata plans a replacement for the aged Land Rover Defender. The current version is not sold in the United States.

Forster calls drastic weight reduction a key goal in the development of successors to the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

Last week Land Rover showed a new small SUV, the two-door Range Rover Evoque, which goes on sale in the United States in the fall of 2011.

At 165 inches long, the Evoque will be the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle in the brand's lineup. It will be available as a hybrid and without all-wheel drive, if desired. The Evoque is expected to start at about $50,000.

At Jaguar, Forster sees a shortage of small vehicles.

"We need a successor to the X-Type and finally the small sports car that has been discussed for so long," he said. "And we need both cars in several variations."

Work on the cars has begun, and the first development steps have been approved. But the company will have to wait one to two years for them.

Forster also plans to expand existing model lines. For example, an XF with an extended wheelbase is planned for China, and a station wagon is planned for Europe

(Source: Automotive News)