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X marks the spot for Jag

The Jaguar X-Type is the 2008 model no one at the company wants to talk about.

The arrival of a diesel engine will not be enough to save the Jaguar X-Type from extinction.

The smallest of the family has struggled to win sales and acceptance in Australia and has done little better in the rest of the world, a failure that had already put it on the endangered list.

But Ford's sale of Jaguar to Tata and a new strategy to maximise profit on every Jaguar built means the X-Type is almost certainly a dead car driving.

No one at Jaguar wants to discuss the X-Type as the company concentrates on its new hero, the mid-sized XF.

Even so, the company's head of product development could not avoid the X-Type topic when he visited Australia for the press-preview drive of the XF in Melbourne.

“It's under review. We have to see how the XF goes,” Jaguar Cars director of programs Mick Mohan says.

The X-Type was developed using the mechanical package from the previous-generation Ford Mondeo. But now that the luxury British brand has passed into Indian ownership at Tata, the latest Mondeo is unlikely to be available as a donor car. And Mohan will talk in only general terms about the product development plan at Jaguar, despite increasing speculation of a born-again E-Type and a potential XF coupe.

He says the plan now is to get the maximum profit from every new model, starting with the XF, then the XJ flagship set for 2010 and the cars that will follow. Then he gets vague about the X-Type — and everything else in the Jaguar product arsenal.

“If it goes as we hope, there will be another one,” he says.