MOTOR MOUTH: The contrary cat

MOTOR MOUTH: The contrary cat - I had to talk about the Mona Lisa at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, so I took the new Jag for a spin. It is not very often you get a chance to write a sentence like that, but my point is that 200 or so miles there a

by STEPHEN BAYLEY, an author and design consultant

I had to talk about the Mona Lisa at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, so I took the new Jag for a spin. It is not very often you get a chance to write a sentence like that, but my point is that 200 or so miles there and back in five hours provided an opportunity to test the X-Type in an environment different from my familiar psychotic inner-city scrum.

Cultural anthropologists have long studied the habits of Jaguar Man. One of his natural habitats was Cheltenham, 'Capital of the Cotswolds'. Think gin and tonic, colourful V-neck woollies, golf, roaring fires. But just as Cheltenham has changed (prim spa neo-classical and genteel ladies are now complemented by rainwashed sub-Texan malls and unwashed feral youth), so has Jaguar Man. And there will soon be a lot more of him too. In a conceit so resonant it might as well be poetry, X-Types are mass-produced on the old Ford Escort lines in Halewood. Talk about the disappearance of the middle market!

To reflect this change, X-Type ads are directed at a fashion-conscious late-20ish audience, not arf-arfing tipplers in blazers. Thus, Young & Rubicam decided the models should be wearing Prada, not Pringle. The stratagem is to position Jaguar as a branded luxury product; so the points of reference are now the long straight of Bond Street rather than the long straight of Mulsanne at Le Mans.

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