Ford is once again gambling on Coventry's storied old cat. The Blue Oval is pouring in 1.2 billion sterling (read: $2.1 billion USD) into Jaguar-- the second such investment over two years into the troubled British brand.

The cash can be seen both as an extension of Ford's commitment to the firm and as a sad commentary on the state of its troubled upscale UK outpost. The brand lost £430 million ($745M USD) last year, a marked improvement on the £601.1 million pound loss in 2003 ($1.41B USD), but still a major drain on a parent company that has had no trouble hemorrhaging red ink on its own.

Ford's initial hope and plan was to rehab the cat and break even by 2007, but Ford officials have been tellingly mum on the issue as of late. Aggressive restructuring has expunged 1,150 jobs from Jag's payroll in England, all but nixed its rental car presence in the U.S. and shortened up production by 15,000 units. Dearborn concedes that it is even considering selling off Browns Lane, the assembly plant that's been the spiritual heart of Jaguar since 1928. However, Ford maintains that it won't put Britain's fabled feline up for adoption any time soon.

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