Jaguar is promising “breakthrough” design and engineering for a proposed new crossover. If it’s signed off for production, it could go on sale around 2016 to crown a radical overhaul of its complete model range.
Speaking bullishly at the Geneva motor show, Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark confirmed that the British marque was responding to Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth’s wish to “drive breakthroughs in product development”.
Sister firm Land Rover is enjoying unprecedented success with niche-busting products such as the Range Rover Evoque, and Jaguar has been given full licence to break away from its traditional roots to launch some innovative new models, following the announcement by parent firm Tata that it is doubling annual investment in the pair to £1.5 billion.
New model blitz
The new crossover will be preceded by production versions of the C-X16 and C-X75 sports cars and Jaguar’s new BMW 3-series rivalling compact saloon, tentatively due in 2015.
But first, over the next two years, Jaguar plans to launch six other significant new products - either facelifts, new powertrains or new models. “You get your image right first and then put the right engines in the current cars,” said Hallmark. “That’s the best way for us to go over the next two years. Then we can enhance our image further with the sports cars and look at how we can further accelerate our growth with new products.”
Insiders say the focus of Jaguar’s long-term development is the compact saloon. The go-ahead for it from Tata in the near future is a strong possibility.
The crossover, meanwhile, is described by Hallmark as “not the top priority, and not the last either”. Its production chances are believed to be about 50/50, but such a car would fuel Jaguar’s growth in Brazil, Russia, India and China. Hallmark said: “It would give us more geographical growth.”
Three options open
Jaguar could attack the SUV market in a number of ways. Making it a variant of the compact saloon is the most intriguing option, and also perhaps the most feasible. This saloon is likely to be an all-aluminium model, emphasising technology in a market defined by relatively conventional steel cars.
On the 3-series rival, Hallmark said Jaguar “can offer a different proposition that costs more but is worth the extra outlay”.
This platform is believed to be a modified and shortened version of the new modular aluminium ‘Premium Lightweight Architecture’ that JLR has developed to underpin its future larger models, including the imminent new Range Rover and, in the longer term, the next-generation XF and XJ saloons. Using the compact saloon as a base for the Jaguar crossover will also allow low-slung proportions.