By on March 30, 2017

2017 Jaguar F-Pace – Image: Jaguar

Jaguar’s U.S. volume more than doubled in 2016, rising to a 12-year high thanks to the launch of an all-new entry-level sedan and the brand’s first-ever SUV.

The XE and F-Pace, which now account for nearly three-quarters of Jaguar’s U.S. volume, have taken the brand to a high-volume place (relatively speaking) Jaguar hasn’t visited since the X-Type roamed dealer forecourts.

One year ago, those models didn’t exist, and Jaguar was selling fewer than 50 cars per day in America.

Now Jaguar’s on fire. Year-over-year growth is explosive, with Jaguar’s U.S. volume more than doubling in each of the last ten months and more than tripling in each of 2016’s final three months.

That level of growth can’t be sustained. Jaguar Land Rover North America’s CEO Joachim Eberhardt told Wards Auto, “We have to continue to grow, but we are not looking to grow at the pace we have been.”

All that growth “still does not make us a giant luxury brand,” Eberhardt says. “It makes us a bigger luxury brand that now has scale but is still special and exclusive.”

There’s the key word. Exclusive. “I think that is part of our appeal and something to focus on maintaining,” claims Eberhardt.

What a revolutionary approach for a premium auto brand.

Of course, Jaguar isn’t the only portion of Tata’s Jaguar Land Rover machine. Jaguar, in fact, is the smaller cog. And growth at Land Rover has been significant, as well. Though Land Rover sales are actually down slightly through the first two months of 2017, calendar year 2016 was the brand’s best U.S. sales year ever, with volume across the brand doubling between 2011 and 2016.

Powered by a massive lineup expansion that isn’t yet complete — the Range Rover Velar is up next — Land Rover is entirely present in the heart of the luxury market’s growth sector: SUVs. Land Rover doesn’t sell a single passenger car.

Jaguar, on the other hand, required an SUV to shed its cars-only status. And by launching the F-Pace, Jaguar ended up producing 30 percent of JLR’s U.S. volume in 2016, nearly double its 17 percent share one year earlier. Through early 2017, 35 percent of JLR’s U.S. sales are Jaguar-derived.

2017 Jaguar XE white - Image: Jaguar

But we’ve yet to see whether Jaguar can further its charge into a U.S. luxury market dominated by Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and BMW, brands which are capable of selling more vehicles in a single month than Jaguar did all of last year. Comparisons that will show whether the full Jaguar lineup — F-Pace, XE, XF, XJ, F-Type — can grow relative to the volume achieved by the full five-pronged Jaguar lineup in the year-ago period won’t occur for another two months.

Based on Eberhardt’s language, however, it appears as though Jaguar’s expectations are not lofty. Although Jaguar sold more than 50,000 vehicles in America as recently as 2003, 40,000-45,000 sales seems like a more realistic target for 2017. And if that’s alright with Jaguar, it ought to be alright with us, too.

Luxury shouldn’t have to equal popularity. The Mercedes-Benz C-Classes and Lexus RXs and BMW 3 Series sedans grazing every level of every parking garage do a fine job of showcasing to the world the upmarket image of Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and BMW, but they certainly don’t represent exclusivity.

The fact Jaguars aren’t seen everywhere, that exclusivity “sets us apart from the others,” Jaguar’s Eberhardt says.

Meanwhile, setting the Jaguar of today apart from the Jaguar of yesterday is the prevalence of diesel engines. 13 percent of the Jaguars sold in the United States through the first two months of 2017 were diesel-powered: 611 diesel F-Paces, 142 diesel XEs, and 62 diesel XFs.

Want exclusivity, a car you’re certain will not appear in your neighbor’s driveway? A diesel-engined midsize Jaguar sedan should do the trick.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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46 Comments on “Jaguar Doesn’t Want To Get Too Popular...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Meanwhile in Germany…

    Ve can sell 300K units and stilt be exclusive, Ja?

    Jaguar

    2016 31,243

    http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/jaguar-brand-sales-figures-usa-canada.html

    BMW

    2016 313,174

    http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/bmw-brand-sales-figures-usa-canada.html

    Merc

    2016 374,541

    http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/mercedes-benz-sales-figures-usa-canada.html

    Audi

    2016 210,213

    http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/audi-brand-sales-figures-usa-canada.html

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Does this mean luxury is a commodity, or more “democratized,” or does it mean that there are more folks with money than ever before?

      I’d say the answer is about 30% of the former and 70% of the latter.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        “…more folks with money than ever before?”

        More folks with leases and extended term car loans than ever before.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          That too. But the number of higher-income people in this country has expanded. That’s a demographic fact.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Too bad it didn’t happen before, back when you were trying to hock Nissans! That Maxima GLS was pricey.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Back in the late ’80s, Maximas were lot poison, believe it or not.

            It was all Sentras and four-cylinder pickups, sold to folks with bum credit, all day long. Our dealership also sold Yugos, which I had precisely one customer for. About two minutes into the test drive, the guy turned on the A/C (which hung under the dash, ’60s style), and the thing died immediately.

            We sold one Sentra to the ex-GF (and baby mama) of one of the salesmen, and did a courtesy delivery for her based on his word. Turns out she lied about having a job, and we couldn’t get her back in with the car, so I got stuck giving him a lift to go pick it up…after closing, on a Saturday night, and she lived in the worst ‘hood in north St. Louis.

            The only good news was that my car was black, versus red or blue, so the Crips and Bloods weren’t going to object per se to me driving in their turf (yes, that was a thing back in the day). But the “Drake University” sticker in the back window might as well have read “please kill me and take my car.”

            The good news, though, was that the deadbeat baby mama left her stash in the glove compartment, and as soon as we got the car back on the lot, the other guy rolled me a joint as a thanks for the lift. It was decent s**t.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Haha, wow. Nice story. I haven’t seen a Nissan/Yugo dealership in quite some time.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            We actually had the Yugo rep, a skinny guy, in one day to show us the car’s selling points. He suggested hanging off an open door to show how well built they were. At the time, I weighed around 250. I asked the guy if I could do it. He moved on to the next selling point.

            Still, it was a shame I never got to sell that Yugo – the sales manager was offering a $750 bounty to for anyone who could get one out the door.

            It was the worst job I ever had by far…but it’s been a gold mine for on-the-job stories.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Should have moved to Cali. There is a subplot in Menace II Society about some dweeby white guy setting up the theft of his ’80s Maxima for an insurance scam.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I’m going to say it’s the access to nearly free money. I just got a USED car loan at 2.3%. On top of that manufacturers are subsidizing leases. It’s a free for all

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          This will end badly, with the Federal Reserve already cranking up interest rates. The automakers are headed for thinner sales, and homeowners looking to sell at the top, may have missed their chance. Only a boost in the economy and employment can mitigate what’s coming. If you have cash, there will be bargains this Fall.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    I really like this approach. I saw a dark-red XE yesterday in the garage where I park for work and did a double-take; it’s a genuinely good-looking car, aggressive in the right trim package, and unusual enough that it jumps out at you. If I were in the market right now I’d be all over it.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I just saw one of those on the road for the first time last week. It’s a much better looking car in person. In pictures, it looks kind of like a knock-off 3-series. It’s also bigger than I expected. I can see why thing is so heavy.

      The F-Pace is a different story. That is a generic looking SUV in person. I think it looks good as far as SUVs go, but it looks good in the same generic way that a Kia does. I don’t think any non-car people are going to be impressed by the F-Pace unless they get close enough to see the cat on the tailgate.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        They’re tiny inside though. I’m 5’10” with an athletic build and I felt cocooned in the front seat when I sat in it at the auto show. Plus I wouldn’t want to sit behind myself. When the back seats of a 3/C/A4 have space for real people and the Jag doesn’t, they;re going to have a problem.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I’ve heard that too. Small on the inside, large and heavy on the outside (for its class).

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          I’ve heard this, but I’m 5’9″ myself, and the only likely rear seat passengers would be our bichon and a very-occasional friend. We have the SUV if we ever need to haul retrievers or Minnesotans.

        • 0 avatar
          Advance_92

          I was surprised sitting in the XE at how narrow it was at the windows. A big, curving sharp-ish edge all along the dash and doors. Reminded me of one of those old wooden powerboats.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Just by adding a compact CUV and a seven passenger one they will double their production again. They do need to work on the interior quality of the XE and the F-Pace at least in lower trims. You can get better from Kia in limited trims.

    • 0 avatar
      CadiDrvr

      I agree. Have a 2011 XF Premium , purchased new, and was given a brand new, 16 miles showing, 2016 XF Premium, fully optioned, as a loaner for my last yearly service.

      Found the interior quality seriously lacking. Cheap & Unrefined were my takeaways. The driving dynamics were excellent, but the lack of refinement from the engine–it had the 3.5 V6 and I have the 5.0L V8–combined with harsher ride quality, increased levels of road noise, and the overall cheap interior materials was a complete turnoff. Sat in an F-Pace at the dealer and it wasn’t any better. In fact, the right rear door didn’t line up with the quarter panel, which didn’t line up with the rear bumper, and neither lined up with the tailgate……

      Needless to say, I’ll be keeping my 2011.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      These are interesting observations, because when I think of Jaguars, the first thing that comes to mind (assuming, of course, the previous frontrunner – “dies in driveway once a month” – is ancient history) is lots of premium interior materials.

      • 0 avatar
        CadiDrvr

        If not for the nice tag hanging off the front seat headrest explaining care of the “upgraded” Taunus leather, I’d have walked away thinking it was MB Tex. What little wood was in the interior was the darkest looking real wood I’ve come across in some time. The door panels were quite “hollow” as well. The entire vehicle was very disappointing.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Adding more models is not the same thing as adding production capacity.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        @CadiDrvr- You have a seriously nice vehicle. I sort of regret not purchasing a similar year XF new when I had the chance. As I remember the 5.0 V8 came standard and the vehicle barely cost more than an A4/3-Series. Interior was pretty spectacular too. Ultimately practicality won out and I ended up with a Q7, just needed the SUV, but boy I would hang on to an XF like that for a long time too.

        • 0 avatar
          CadiDrvr

          True, but mine stickered for $61k as it’s a Premium with all the options save the Portfolio package which added even nicer leather, more seat adjustments, and suede headliner. The performance from the standard V8 is phenomenal and the supercharged V8s absolutely insane!

          You were wise to select an SUV as my XF has a laughably small rear seat for the size vehicle it is. I blame it on Ford’s designers as they can’t seem to design a car with efficient use of space.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            Loaded up like that a bit more pricey, but still a heck of a better deal than a comparable 5-Series/E-Class, especially with the V8. You’re right about the backseat space, that was a point of contention. I also remember the trunk space being quite good, but the opening was too small, another Ford signature design.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    An approach that has generally worked for ‘British’ brands.

    Jaguar, Land/Range Rover, Aston-Martin, Morgan, Rolls-Rocye/Bentley. Even to a degree TVR, Lotus, Jensen and Triumph in their day.

    Driving an ‘exclusive’ vehicle generally means that few of your peers (or ‘inferiors) have driven in one, so the quality and quirkiness of these vehicles is overlooked or relatively unknown by the general public.

    Perhaps Sergio should take note of this in regards to Maserati and Alfa. And maybe even resurrect Lancia?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      That’s just what FCA needs…another Italian nameplate with bad JD Power ratings!

      I’m thinking the Alfa experiment is dead in the water unless they improve their quality, and do it very quickly.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        That’s the point, JD Power rankings should mean nothing to their target market.

        One; their vehicle is ‘exclusive’.
        Two; they can afford to have this vehicle constantly being returned to the dealer because they have a choice of others in their driveway/garage to chose from.

        Unreliability then becomes an actual ‘virtue’. ‘I can afford to have a car that costs a fortune to maintain and you cannot’.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          In the end, I’d have to think Alfa’s target market is really the same as BMW, Mercedes, etc – affluent corporate / entrepreneur types using their cars as daily transportation.

          And those folks are NOT going to be tolerant of a car that has to go into the shop all the time, no matter how much Italian charm the thing has.

          This was true when Alfa flamed out 30 years ago, and it’s true today.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I have to agree with Mike. The last thing a busy up-and-comer wants to do is spend time at a dealership. Unless the dealer’s willing to send a flatbed to pick up the car and bring it back, it’s too much hassle, even if you have a fleet of cars to drive in the meantime.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “Unreliability then becomes an actual ‘virtue’.”

          Of the three, only Maserati can pull that off. Alfa’s volume is going to be in the high $40K range and Lancia since the 70s has been closer to Saab or a fancy Subaru.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Exactly. Maserati might – and I emphasize “might” – be exotic enough that buyers would come to expect some reliability issues.

            But the Giulia is aimed at cars like the 3-series, ATS and Mercedes C-Class, and it’s priced similarly. It’s a long way from being exotic.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s the dark side of the “we want to be exclusive” story:

    Jaguar has always had quality problems. It still does. Therefore, I am going to assume that if they have quality problems at the current production levels, those problems will get worse as they ramp up volume. No one knows this better than Jaguar, which well remembers what happened the last time they chased volume (the horrid X-type).

    So…yes, it makes sense for them to “grow more slowly.”

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    A brand can become too popular, but not too reliable!

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I really like the looks of the F-Pace but then I sat in it at the DC auto show and was not at all impressed. I don’t recall which trim level it was but the materials didn’t scream luxury to me, plus I didn’t like the seating position.

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    The fact that there are relatively few examples of a model running around out there doesn’t make it ‘exclusive’. The only way for a car to be ‘exclusive’ is for it to be priced beyond what most people can pay for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      That’s incorrect. If some special MX-5 comes out, they only make 350 of them, and they cost just a bit more than regular ones – that’s still exclusive.

      Exclusivity often has more to do with supply.

      • 0 avatar
        RobbieAZ

        I wouldn’t consider that exclusive at all. Some special trim version of a mainstream car might be relatively rare, but not exclusive. Exclusivity implies ‘hard to afford’ to my way of thinking.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    “Meanwhile, setting the Jaguar of today apart from the Jaguar of yesterday is the prevalence of diesel engines. 13 percent of the Jaguars sold in the United States through the first two months of 2017 were diesel-powered: 611 diesel F-Paces, 142 diesel XEs, and 62 diesel XFs.”

    Doubt I have seen a diesel Jaguar in Australia, but I find it surprising they are selling their ” European selection” in the US

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    I drove one, they should not worry

  • avatar

    Exclusivity is a good way to explain away why they only move a handful of units each month.
    Its very hipstery. “My XF is worth $2000 more than your sane year, same mileage LaCrosse because people just don’t understand”

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Don’t sweat it Jaguar, sales will slow plenty when these things start coming back to the dealer with the usual Jaguar problems and word gets out.


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