For most of a decade, Jaguar has been fully occupied doing stuff that was more vital than glamorous: finding a generic look to jump two design generations and bring its cars up to date, launching saloons against its deadliest rivals, convincing itself that SUVs were right for Jaguar and designing required models.
Now it’s in a different phase: creating the cars whose highest purpose (apart from profit) is to carry the unique persona of Jaguar to future generations. Barring the F-Type sports car – which, given Ratan Tata’s keenness from the beginning, was also a necessity – the new phase starts with the I-Pace, which conveys boldness and technological grasp, and will extend through much larger, more expensive and lower-volume creations that further build image and desire. Prominent among them will the forthcoming J-Pace.
If you want to remind yourself how important such image cars are, take a look back through Jaguar’s model roll-call.
In this era, Jaguar faces a new challenge. The mechanical and styling ‘tools’ that produced the E-Type aren’t appropriate. Creating desire needs a new approach. The I-Pace sets the course. Cars like the XJ, J-Pace and maybe a new XK must extend the journey.