Jaguar will replace the core model in its range, the XF, before extending its line-up with a new small saloon, Autocar has learned.
This new plan is one of many detail changes to Jag’s future strategy under its Tata-led management team, now headed by experienced Briton Adrian Hallmark.
Jaguar did have a new small saloon and a sports utility spin-off pencilled in to the product plan under the codename X760 and due for launch around 2014, a year ahead of a new XF in 2015.
But for a significant reason the replacement for the XF is being given higher priority - to ensure the new ‘small’ saloon doesn’t encroach on the XF and pinch sales from the car that saved Jaguar.
“We definitely won’t kill today’s XF with a new small car,” Hallmark said. “We’ll kill it with the new XF.” Given that the new F10 BMW 5-Series and Merc E-Class models have moved up in size, so will the next XF.The same goes for next year’s 2012 F30 3-series and the new C-class, particularly since BMW and Mercedes have significant models lower down their ranges.
To be competitive with the new 3-series and C-class, Jag’s small saloon will end up being close in size to today’s XF; hence the need to switch the models in the cycle plan.
Jag’s engineering chief Bob Joyce said, “The small car has to be designed and engineered to be exactly right for its market.”
Hallmark is a strong advocate of the new small saloon, cautioning that the failure of the X-type shouldn’t generate negative thinking about this vital segment. “We’ve got to be careful and not be too British and think that just because we didn’t hit the bullseye first time, we can’t hit it a second time,” he said.
He also believes that the success of the radical XF shows the way forward for Jaguar to be successful with a new small saloon. “We haven’t realised the full potential of the XF yet,” he said. “It was a vision and it has been very successful. Why can’t we do the same in the segment below?”