A former senior automotive executive says trying to compete with the Germans was like chasing a runaway train.
Jaguar as we all know will dramatically change later this decade as the fabled British marque has pledged to abolish the combustion engine and go purely electric from 2025. Aside from phasing out petrol and diesel mills, the luxury brand will no longer try to compete with the German trifecta (BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz).
Automotive News is citing a "former senior automotive executive with experience in the premium sector," who said Jaguar's effort to make the XE a worthy rival for the 3 Series, A4, and C-Class has pretty much failed: "It's like chasing a runaway train." In its attempt to go after the German trio, he thinks Jaguar Land Rover has made its lineup overly complicated as the Jaguar-badged SUVs are cannibalising sales of the Range Rover models.
Gallery: 2021 Jaguar XE
Jaguar is going back to the drawing board by not chasing volume anymore. Instead, higher profit margins will be the priority in the electric era, meaning the company will build fewer cars and try to earn more from each sale. Its rivals have a different strategy by expanding their EV offerings without actually discontinuing any of the existing combustion-engined vehicles.
CFO Adrian Mardell admitted earlier this year that going after the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz "makes no sense" since those companies are four times larger. Despite massive investments made in recent times to catch the Germans, sales for the whole JLR peaked at 614,309 during the 2019 financial year, a far cry from the lofty one-million annual sales goal set by former CEO Ralf Speth.
As part of the shake-up plan, the larger J-Pace SUV and electric XJ have both been cancelled as JLR is retaining the new Modular Longitudinal Architecture only for the next-gen Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. By switching to purely electric propulsion, it effectively means all current Jaguar models will be terminated between now and the middle of the decade.
JLR's design boss Gerry McGovern has promised Jaguar will be pushed upmarket to become more exclusive and deliver a "true luxury experience." Doing so requires creating completely original "jaw-dropping designs" while making sure Jaguars will look significantly different than Land Rover models.
A dedicated Jaguar platform is also in the works and you can imagine the transformational process is going to cost JLR a pretty penny. Ex-chief engineer at Land Rover, Charles Tennant, told Automotive News the Tata Motors-owned company could spend £5 billion until 2025 to develop a new platform and products as well as retool the factories and retire the existing ICE-powered vehicles.
All these drastic measures are being taken with the hope Jaguar will "realise its unique potential," according to company CEO Thierry Bolloré.