Somewhere In The World, People Want A Jaguar Station Wagon
TTAC readers, especially those in the United States may profess their undying love for station wagons, but their pleas tend to fall on deaf ears. Not so for European Jaguar dealers – their requests for a station wagon version of the XF will be fulfilled shortly.
A station wagon version of the XF, dubbed the Sportbrake will be unveiled at March’s Geneva Auto Show after a long period of rumors and whispers. It won’t be coming to America, since Jaguar claims that certifying the vehicle for the U.S. would cost too much to certify, due to the major changes carried out to produce the wagon.
The XF is Jaguar’s best-selling car, but sales in Europe are down 18 percent. Jaguar moved nearly 17,000 XFs in Europe, while BMW sold nearly 144,000 5-Series cars. It may be hard to make a business case for the XF wagon, but BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagons have long been popular with the 1 percent, a demographic that, as Paul Fussell notes, has an unhealthy obsession with all things British. Would the XF Sportbrake be a sort of under-the-radar halo vehicle for Jaguar, attracting the kind of moneyed clientele that an XK-RS wouldn’t? It’s tempting to think so, but the X-Type wagon (above) was also a spectacular flop.
Derek, we know from a past piece that you don't like station wagons. But the Europeans LOVE them. 10 minutes on any highway in Europe will show that. Thus, this car makes perfect sense. And while the Jaguar X-type was not a big seller in North America, they sold in fair numbers on the other side of the pond. Note that of those 144K 5-series, I would not be surprised if more than 1/2 were the Touring. More than 1/2 of the 3-series sold in Europe are. If you want to be a player in Europe, you had better have good diesels, and a wagon version. Preferably in the same car. The current generation 5-series Touring is a stunningly good looking car, IMHO.
About the time Jag was developing the X-type wagon (which was boring upon its release) there was also talk of adding a diesel to increase appeal in critical european markets. I don't recall if it was ever remedied, but IIRC, one of the contributors to the X-type flopping, besides the FWD/RWD issue, and the noisy AWD system, was the lack of a diesel engine (there was talk of it getting one, but by then I lost interest in the vehicle and stopped following that development.)
I think people are asking for an XF wagon because the sedan, with its fastback styling, has no rear seat headroom. With a wagon there is a chance the room might be raised over the rear seat and it might be tolerable for adult-sized passengers.
When Jaguar decided to kill the X-type is when I first discovered the wagon. I never seen one before. It was love at first sight. I then went to the local Jaguar dealer to see what kind of a deal I could cut. The dealer wanted full sticker on a discontinued car! It was really expensive after accessories. I decided to put up with the quirks of my Audi 5000 wagon versus the potential quirks of a Jaguar X-type at that price. The primary reasons a Cruze wagon could be a success over the X-type wagon is the lower pricepoint, expanded dealer network, and the GM faithful. I still look at used Jaguar X-type wagons on eBay. I would probably still buy one if I found one with less than 30,000 miles at a good price. However my daughter is getting married this year and the old Audi has been gremlin free this past year so this can wait.