It’s all about the SUVs, baby. Read on for the gory details.
Jaguar is busy telling the motoring world that it’s reinventing itself for 2025. As you may recall, they stated in 2021 that there will be no new Jaguar models until 2025, when Jaguar will go fully electric.
The new cars will be built on an all-new platform called Panthera, being developed in-house by Jaguar.
Going all-in on EVs is one thing. Telling all your prospective customers that they’d be better off shopping elsewhere for the next four years is another. We can only hope and assume that Jaguar management knows what they’re doing, although it’s difficult to see from where we’re sitting.
Relaunching the brand with three new SUVs, when their new motto is “a copy of nothing,” doesn’t induce the greatest confidence. Let’s face it, it’s quite hard to be more generic than that. Then again, these are the same people who thought it was a great idea to commemorate the Le Mans-winning XJR-9 with an SUV with a fancy paint job. Hint: It really wasn’t.
To top it off, the genius bean counters in Jaguar’s leadership have determined that the way forward is to move into the decidedly upmarket territory currently occupied by the likes of Bentley. It makes sense, in a spreadsheet kind of way. Jaguar has never been able to achieve volume, no matter how hard they’ve tried. The alternative is to increase margins, by a lot, so they can make more money per car sold. Great.
Let’s perform a little thought experiment to illustrate the problem that immediately springs to mind. Let’s say you had Bentley money, and Jaguar had just launched a gorgeous new SUV (we know, but bear with us). Would you forego the Bentley for a Jag costing the same? You’ve got $300,000 burning a hole in your pocket. Bentley or Jaguar SUV, which will it be?
We thought so.
It takes time to build a luxury brand. You can’t just wave a magic wand and make it so. Especially when waving the wand simply means calling your friends in the automotive press and telling them you have this brilliant new strategy, and would they please write about it? (And no, they didn’t call us. Apparently, we’re not in the target demo.)
We really want Jaguar to succeed, believe it or not. And we do realize that SUVs are despairingly popular, especially in that moneyed target demographic. The only way we can see them pulling this off is if the cars are absolutely, mind-blowingly, money-is-no-object’y gorgeous. The exact opposite of everything the F-Pace represents and even then fails to deliver.
If they can pull that off, if they can create a $300,000 car that fully grown men and women shed tears over on first sight, then maybe. Judging by everything Jaguar has put out since the launch of the F-Type, we’re not exactly holding our breath.
One more thing: JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré has said that the new cars will be “really modern luxury cars that are the copy of nothing in style or design, the top of technology and refinement, but not looking backwards.”
“Not looking backwards.” Brace yourself.