JLR appear to have hit on a genius plan to secure Jaguar’s future. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to involve making Jaguars.
Judging by the frequency he is hauled out to expound on matters of product, anyone would think Jaguar’s design chief was solely responsible for product planning. Perhaps it’s got something to do with his mellow Dumfries lilt, but nowadays its difficult to escape the suspicion JLR’s senior management wheel him out when they have unpalatable Jaguar-related news to deliver – and frankly, is there really any other kind?
An example of this being Callum’s recent announcement that JLR have no plans to replace the XK GT model, citing the fact that the F-Type now fulfills that role. Pragmatic, yes, but hardly news to bolster the morale of the marque faithful. It also glosses over the fact that a lot of current XK owners find the F-Type’s boorish nature doesn’t necessarily butter too many turnips, leaving them no choice but to look elsewhere. So that’s one sector of the market gone.
Last week, speaking at an event to promote the new F-Pace CUV, Callum closed the tailgate on the possibility of a new generation of Jaguar Estates, or Station Wagons to our US readers. Callum cited falling demand across Europe, a factor he told journalists, which has been exacerbated by the shocking realisation that German buyers predominantly buy German cars. What Callum is really saying is perhaps something more along the lines of; ‘our attempts at producing competitive Estate models have not been commercially successful and in a market that is clearly gravitating towards CUV’s we’ve elected to concentrate on those.’ Presto, another sector lost.
For people who like Estate cars, this is hardly what one would call heartening news; less choice can never be considered a good thing. It also begs the question – if Jaguar are not interested in producing estate versions of XE/XF, what alternative body styles are they intending to offer? Because as the all conquering Germans have established, choice = profit. It does tie in with something Callum said last year however. Speaking to Autocar, he suggested that in future, instead of diversifying within model ranges, Jaguar would create standalone models. However, with each fresh announcement from Jaguar’s styling chief, the possibilities narrow further.
Even the XJ saloon, now only selling in any reasonable volume in China, is said to have been given a stay of execution primarily because it’s viewed as a necessary halo model, not because JLR have any faith in recreating its lost appeal.
At present, JLR appear to be spending more time telling us what kind of Jaguars we can’t have than producing the sort of cars that might actually appeal to us. And if we take this logic to its natural conclusion, there’s really no point in Jaguar attempting to compete in any sector of the market – with one possible exception. Ian Callum told journalists earlier this week; “We will do things that will surprise you, but it won’t be wagons.” Tell you what would really surprise me Ian? If the next Jaguar wasn’t to be another sodding crossover.
It now appears that the Automotive news piece quoting Jaguar’s Ian Callum may not have been entirely accurate. Yesterday, (April 26), Callum tweeted the following: “I have been misquoted in Automotive News regarding the future of Sportsbrake. I said there would be no XE Sportbrake. Nothing more!”
Make of this what you will.