"The [compact] saloon is really the lever to transforming the size of the company" says Hallmark
The C-X17 concept shows Jaguar's vision for an SUV
Jaguar has already revealed its plans to launch four new models by 2018. A new compact saloon, estate, SUV and coupe will be revealed within the next five years, completing a strong model offensive which will also see a new version of the Range Rover Evoque go on sale, dubbed the Evoque XL.
Here, brand chief Adrian Hallmark tells Autocar about his plans for the future.
On rebuilding the brand
“If you’re a Jaguar aficionado, the brand has very strong values. If you’re not, it doesn’t. We can fill that void. If you compared it with Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz, the brand Jaguar is absolutely seen as a prestige brand globally, wherever you go. But below that, it starts to get a bit ‘not sure what’s next’. We’re trying to fill the ‘what’s next’ with technology stories like the new iQ[Al] platform and the C-X17.
“Jaguar is very strong in two dimensions: design and prestige. Chinese customers don’t know the history of Jaguar, they don’t know our technology and they don’t understand everything that we understand in the UK because they’ve not been exposed to it, so that’s an open book. And to present this architecture, the saloon and this SUV concept as a vision of what else we can do starts to build a much more rounded, high-tech, modern, progressive picture.”
On a product-led revival
“It’s a three-phase approach. There was fixing the basics, which we did with XK, XF and XJ. Then we saw new engines, all-wheel drive, the Sportbrakes, R versions — you name it. That has already yielded 40 per cent growth.
“But the real change for Jaguar comes when we launch new products into new segments. F-type was a little boost to that because the sports car segment is tiny, but from an image perspective, it is a quantum leap. It absolutely gets Jaguar back on to the screensavers and bedroom walls of the young.
“We do have mules [for the compact Jaguar] being tested. The new engine factory that we’ve already communicated and that new engine family, they are being prototyped like crazy and the durability testing; refinement and efficiency are being optimised as we speak. It’s all guns blazing in the development process and we’re ready for launch in 2015.
“The volume potential for that one car is greater than the entire Jaguar range last year. So by 2015, that one car, in terms of transformational effect, should be worth more in volume terms than the entire Jaguar sales globally last year. F-type does it from an image point of view, but the saloon car is really the lever to transform the size of the company.”
On Jaguar’s all-new aluminium architecture
“It’s not about changing the image as much as rebasing it in what Jaguar stands for. When we’re at our best, we build the best-looking, the fastest and most engaging and the most high-tech cars in the world. F-type is the symbol of all of those three things. This iQ[Al] architecture is now the foundation for the third phase of our development.
“With this system, we’ve already planned for rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, diesel, petrol, hybrids. But not full electric; you could, but for a full electric vehicle you’re better off with a full electric system. But for everything apart from a pure battery vehicle, we’ve got it covered. V6, even a V8, we can get in. Four-cylinder, three-cylinder, hybrid, two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive… we can do it all.”
On taking on the Germans
“We don’t intend to compete head to head. The first thing I’d say is a bit of sober aspiration. We want to change the vocabulary, from ‘the German three’ to ‘the European four’. That’s point one.
“Point two is that we have a long, long way to go to be able to compete with them, but from a product perspective we will build the most advanced, the most efficient, the most refined car in that segment. Not almost as good as, but better than the best in the world.
“It won’t be the cheapest in the segment, but it won’t be the most expensive, either. But it will look and drive like a Jaguar, be filled with the highest technology that anybody has ever brought to that segment, have the most efficient engines and the most refined feel in the segment.”
On a Jaguar SUV
“Does it rankle with our core values? Maybe, a little bit. Does it rankle more than a diesel X-type estate car? I don’t think so. If you look at the premium products from premium brands out there today, they no longer conform to whatever they did 20, 50 or 100 years ago. The C-X17 should ignite in people’s minds the fact that Jaguar is not just some dormant historic brand that is great at saloons and the odd sports car, but actually it could be imagined as a modern premium brand.”
On transforming Jaguar
“We won’t transform Jaguar in a year. In the past three years we’ve made a bit of difference, but it takes five, 10, 15 years to truly leverage and change a brand. With continued commitment on investment, with the right products and technologies, absolutely we can be a global number four and part of the European four, and that’s the mission.”
On using social media
“As well as launching cars, we’ve got to constantly push the boundaries in terms of getting people to talk about the brand in a positive way. Because you don’t see many Jaguars on the road, it is an exciting story to get the familiarity and the awareness that we need. We’ve just got to be on it the whole time and the C-X17 absolutely turbocharges that process and we’re measuring it very closely.
“With social media feedback, we can understand how the brand resonates and how people see us, and how they see this concept in relation to Jaguar. I had a report at 5.30am in the morning [after the unveiling] showing reaction to the C-X17 on a global level. We use it to discover what impact it is having on the brand; do people like or dislike what we’re doing? Is it being distributed and redistributed and does it resonate?”