Jaguar’s BMW 3-series rival must be “extraordinary” if it is to have any chance of sales success, according to Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth.
Test mules for the junior saloon have already been spied testing and the car is expected to go on sale in 2015.
“If we do such a car, it is clear that our rivals have incredible design, incredible cars to drive and incredible strength,” said Speth. “We must create something that can rival that, which means our product must be extraordinary, but I also want our cars to deliver a human quality that sets them apart. Jaguar’s strength is its people, and our products must reflect that.”
Jaguar boss Adrian Hallmark added that the key attributes of the 3-series rival must be that it is better to drive, feature more advanced technology and have a more alluring design than any of its rivals.
Although he acknowledged that the likes of the 3-series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-class represent formidable opposition, and that their makers can fall back on larger economies of scale to drive costs down, he denied that the compact executive saloon market was unconquerable.
“The key has been getting the F-type at the heart of our range,” said Hallmark. “It stands for everything Jaguar is about and is utterly distinctive. It is the purest expression of what all our cars should be about. Now we must apply that strategy to forthcoming cars, including the baby saloon. The headlines of that car must be innovative technology, the most desirable design and a driving sensation that makes the car feel more alive than anything the opposition has to offer.”
The small Jaguar saloon is expected to sit on JLR’s highly scalable Premium Lightweight Architecture (PLA) aluminium platform and be built at the firm’s Castle Bromwich plant, which would then be able to run at full capacity. By combining the lightweight platform with latest-generation four-cylinder engines, Jaguar hopes to outscore the dynamics and efficiency of its rivals.