Junior Jaguar is expected to go on sale in 2015
Test mules have been spotted based around shortened XF saloons
The new car will mark Jaguar's first foray into the compact exec market since the X-type
The new car will use the latest four-cylinder engines built in Castle Bromwich
The new car will spawn a number of variants, including an estate, coupe and convertible
The baby Jag will be based on JLR's PLA architecture, shared with the recently-launched Range Rover
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.
“Selling cars is competitive, and it’s no good expecting to walk in and steal your opposition’s lunch,” said Hallmark. “But we have a view on how we can differentiate ourselves from them, and we believe that at the end of the scale Jaguar will sell in, which is traditionally the higher price point of the market, we can win customers by being distinctive, by avoiding being aloof and by standing for something that is just a little bit different.”
The baby Jaguar is expected to evolve into a full line-up of body styles, including an estate, coupé and convertible. Jaguar is also tipped to be developing a crossover in tandem with the baby saloon, with the styling and capability focused more around on-road dynamics than any serious off-road capability. It is likely to be launched in 2016 or 2017.