Jaguar’s future model expansion will be rather more modest than that of its booming sister brand, Land Rover. In the medium term, there are four major new models on the horizon: the F-type sports car, in both convertible and coupé forms; a small, front-wheel-drive car and a family-friendly crossover model. Bringing up the rear will be the next generation of the XK coupé and convertible.
In crude terms, the F-type is about boosting Jaguar’s image. The baby front-drive Jaguar serves to meet the trend for downsizing and the demands of global fuel economy regulations. And the crossover aims to exploit the profitable, booming global SUV market.
The F-type roadster has already been shown and will arrive in showrooms next May. It’s tempting to think that a production F-type coupé — possibly with the new option of a manual gearbox — will appear at next February’s Geneva motor show. That’s because next year is also the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the all-aluminium, and ultra-rare, lightweight E-type — the spiritual and engineering predecessor to the F-type.
Although Jaguar bosses are pinning great hopes on the F-type having a disproportionate effect on Jaguar’s current image, its next two new models are very different from anything that the company has done in the past.
Work on Jaguar’s family-orientated SUV is well under way. Customer research started in Coventry in spring of this year and US market research is also expected to have been completed by now.
One source who has seen the full-size model of the SUV described it as “spectacular”. The SUV was shown alongside rival models that included the Infiniti FX, which is said to have influenced the new Jaguar. It’s expected that the SUV will be based on the same basic aluminium riveted platform as the XJ saloon and will be built on the same line at Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich factory.
The next model in the pipeline is said to be taxing the company’s product planners far more than the move into the SUV market. Autocar can reveal that a finished, full-sized model of what’s known internally as the “compact car” does exist and the styling has been virtually finalised. It’s thought to be a 4.3m-long, frugal front-driver, based on the new JLR steel platform that is also destined for the next-generation Freelander but with aluminium panels.
We also understand that Jaguar bosses are nervous about the much-needed model because of the damage done to the company’s image by the Mondeo-based X-type. Apparently, consideration has even been given to the idea of not badging the car as a Jaguar because of the risk of pushing the brand too far downmarket.
The fourth Jaguar model will be the replacement for the XK coupé and roadster. Jaguar bosses have already hinted that the new XK will be bigger and more upmarket, closely following the pattern set by the Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio.