Report: Jaguar prioritizing BMW 3-Series contender, no crossovers or FWD

Jaguar is working hard to tighten its aim on luxury segment. But in order for them to truly succeed, Jaguar needs to supplement more offerings in its lineup. Because, let’s face it: Jaguar is not really going to succeed in one of the most highly competitive markets without having models to contribute to many of the latest sub-segments that exist today.

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One of those major segments is the compact luxury sport sedan segment—yup, the one pioneered by the beloved BMW 3-Series. And the last time Jaguar attempted at producing a 3-Series competitor was the compact Ford Mondeo-based Jaguar X-Type, which was a hit or miss—depending on who you talk to.

Now however, AutoCarUK reports that Jaguar is prioritizing its efforts towards a rival to the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. The car be spoken of is said to have a lightweight aluminum construction, much like its latest lineup sibling, the Jaguar F-Type convertible. “Cutting-edge and super-frugal” four-bangers are also said to be on tap.

“The 3-series is an easy simile for where we could go, but it’s not the only gig in town,” Jaguar’s global brand director Adrian Hallmark told AutoCarUK. “All the cars are good in that segment. All have the blend of performance and efficiency, as well as very sophisticated equipment.

This Jaguar 3-Series contender is said to utilize Jaguar-Land Rover’s latest modular platform nicknamed PLA or Premium Lightweight Architecture, which will also be used for the next-gen XF and XJ models. This platform was also used as a spawning point for the current MK4 generation Range Rover.

“It took Audi 20 years to build up to where it is,” Hallmark continued. “For us to come in and go to the top of the league is impossible, so we have to find ways of expanding our business profitably and we’re well developed in that process. We are undergoing creative analysis of competitors and consumers.”

“Trying to find a gap to exploit is a real challenge. Nobody is waiting for another competitor to enter a segment. For us to enter… we have to have a winning proposition. It has to have a twist, something relevant to the consumer. But the Jaguar brand should define everything.”

And in the midst of Hallmark’s excitement, he also hinted at many details for other future possibilities for expansion: “All makers in that segment have a successful strategy of different versions: coupés, cabrios, estates, engines. You have to be flexible in that segment.”

However, those hesitant about Jaguar expanding into the SUV and crossover market can be relieved as Hallmark added that it’s not a priority.

“Even though the SUV market is growing, the saloon market is still twice the size, especially in the US,” said Hallmark. “A crossover would make more noise for us than a saloon, but we already have SUVs in the company and we’re not in a rush to add to that. You might not make as much profit on a saloon as an SUV, but you don’t expect the likes of Audi to stop making the A4.”

For those still rather skeptical, Jaguar is making a bold-move to eliminate front-wheel drive in its lineup—a proclaimed Achilles heel for the original X-Type. Hallmark added that the new PLA platform can be reworked to accommodate front-wheel drive based vehicles. But according to him, “there’s no reason why not in the future, as it’s totally scaleable and flexible.”

“The world is downsizing in many areas,” added Ian Callum, Jaguar’s current chief of design. “I think downsizing can only go so far. Then it comes down to the efficiency of the vehicle. Mass, rather than size, is something we have a big lead on with our aluminum construction. Downsizing is not off our radar and we have to take it seriously. But we’ve got the head start on mass.”

“I think Jaguar has to do something different. The challenge is to do this across a whole range of vehicles. Some our rivals have four-door coupés, which we’d love to see. The Mercedes CLA could be a template for a smaller Jaguar, but that’s not what we’d do,” Callum concluded. “It’s Jaguar’s turn [after Land Rover] to grow next. We will grow and could become formidable if all goes well and we get the planning done properly.”

Despite the rather detailed projections given by the two Jaguar bosses, no word was given regarding specifics of the time frame for these projects. Either way, the next coming years may surely prove to be exciting for the leaping cat.

– By: Chris Chin

Source: AutoCarUK