Poor unloved Jaguar X-Type--the memorial service won't be the media circus of some other recent farewells, will it?

The compact luxury sedan has finally met its maker. Production will end in December, reports Autocar, and there will end the massive experiment that probably signaled the end of Ford's long involvement with the brand.

Hopes were high in 2002 when Ford added a reworked Mondeo to the Jaguar lineup. With all-wheel drive, goggle-eyed styling and a chintzy interior by brand standards, the Jaguar X-Type won positive reviews for its handling--but not much more. At a time when Lexus, BMW and Mercedes were winning converts with new smaller cars, Jaguar's gamble cost its reputation dearly.

The X-Type drooped on U.S. sales charts until 2008, when the car was finally discontinued. Used versions command bottom dollar today, despite its virtues--handling, a more roomy wagon version, and all-wheel drive.

Jaguar built more than 350,000 X-Types in eight years, which makes it the highest-volume Jaguar ever. Since the sale of Jaguar by Ford to Tata, the new direction of fewer customers, fewer cars and a more exclusive image has been aided by the introduction of the 2010 Jaguar XJ sedan. Whether it permanenty fixes the "Jaguar problem"--great cars with sales below the yearly total just for the Lexus RX--remains to be seen.

[Autocar via TheCarConnection]