MAHWAH, N.J., July 13 /CNW/ — Jaguar celebrated yesterday, the production milestone of 1.5 million cars since the company's formation and the opening of a new state-of-the-art visitor showcase and Jaguar Gallery. Leading the celebrations Jaguar Managing Director, Jonathan Browning and Coventry North East MP, Bob Ainsworth greeted the 1.5 millionth car, an XJ Sedan, as it rolled off the line at the company's headquarters in Browns Lane, Coventry.
Since the launch of the original XJ6 in September 1968, Jaguar has made six generations of XJ series sedans, which between them have reached a total production figure of over 800,000 cars representing more than half of all Jaguars ever built. Originally introduced as a single model range to replace no less than four different predecessors, today the XJ Sedan is the flagship of the expanding Jaguar range, as the largest and most prestigious of three sedans. The car is to be donated to BEN, the motor industry's occupational benevolent charity as a tribute to employees in the motor industry from employees in the motor industry, with the help of a national newspaper, where it will be offered to readers in a premium telephone promotion with all profits going to the charity. Jonathan Browning, managing director of Jaguar Cars said, "It is a very proud day for all of us at Jaguar and I want to thank everyone involved with Jaguar, our employees and management team, the designers and engineers, and our partners including the Trade Unions and national and local Government – in fact, everyone who has played their part in making Jaguar what it is today. "This production milestone seemed the perfect opportunity to say thank you to all that have made Jaguar's progress possible. "Since the acquisition of Jaguar by Ford Motor Company in 1989, Jaguar has grown rapidly. In the early 1990's we were producing around 20,000 units per year. This year with the introduction of the X-Type we will break through the 100,000 units a year barrier. By the time we introduce the F-Type roadster to our model line up in three to four years time, we will have transformed from a two car line company to a five car line company producing around 200,000 units a year and be a significant competitor in every market around the world." Bob Ainsworth MP said, "Jaguar has come a very long way in the past decade and it is a tribute to the company and its workforce to celebrate this significant milestone in such style. Every member of the company I have come across is extremely proud of this achievement and the Jaguar cars they make, with a firm focus on an exciting future." Receiving the car on behalf of BEN, the charity's chief executive, Geoffrey Atkinson said, "Jaguar has been involved with the BEN charity since its formation and has been extremely supportive over the years. This however is the greatest honor we could receive from a motor company, a tribute from motor industry employees to their colleagues in times of need." The Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councilor David Chater added, "The people of Coventry have much civic pride in Jaguar being so successful and the Jaguar Gallery and Visitor Center is a tribute to those people of the locality and further afield who have both contributed to and benefited from Jaguar's growth. This is a historic day in the company's history with a focus on its exciting future." A year of milestones continue for Jaguar in 2001, with both the 40th Anniversary of the production of the first Jaguar E-Type and Jaguar's first win at Le Mans some 50 years ago with the Jaguar C-Type. Celebrations culminate in the fall with the centenary of Jaguar's founder Sir William Lyons with a major rally and charity ball in aid of the NSPCC to be held in his honor. Jaguar has produced more than 50 models since 1931. A selection of these include: XK 120/140/150 from 1949-1961 30,381 C and D Type from 1951 to 1957 141 Mark I/ Mark II from 1955-1969 145,835 E Types from 1961 to 1974 72,529 XJ Series from 1968 to present day 800,000 XJS from 1975 to 1996 115,330 XK Series since 1996 over 60,000 S Types since 1998 over 120,000 The newest addition, the Jaguar X-Type will contribute to record sales over 100,000 cars in the four model range in 2001.