Jaguar’s New Roadster

Jaguar is invoking its iconic E-Type roadster to challenge Mercedes and Porsche with its first two- seat sports car in almost four decades. The F-Type, due to be unveiled in September and go on sale as soon as next April, will be Jaguar’s smallest auto in more than a half-century as the marque seeks a return to its sporting tradition following decades spent focusing on luxury sedans. What’s more, it has been confirmed that the roadster will be built on English soil in Birmingham.

Jaguar F Type concept“If the product can do what the original E-Type did for Jaguar, it will be a huge boost,” said Peter Schmidt, managing director of Warwick, England-based Automotive Industry Data. “What they’re doing is laudable, it’s good for the brand and it’s good for the image. But nobody should expect miracles.”

The E-Type, introduced at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show, was described by Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari as “the most beautiful car ever built,” and became synonymous with the London of the “Swinging Sixties.” Yet it has taken the $2.5 billion purchase of Jaguar by India’s Tata Motors Ltd. in 2008 for a pure-bred sports model to return to favor at the British manufacturer.

Tata, which acquired the Jaguar and Land Rover brands from Ford Motor Co. and combined them into a single unit, plans to invest $12 billion over five years to win a bigger slice of an upscale market dominated by German automakers.

Tata Motors fell as much as 2.4 percent to 289.40 rupees and was down 0.7 percent as of 2:58 p.m. in Mumbai trading today. The shares have gained 65 percent this year, exceeding gains of 31 percent for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, 18 percent at Volkswagen AG and 13 percent at Daimler AG, which owns Mercedes-Benz cars.

Read more at The San Francisco Chronicle.