Jaguar Is Selling F-Types, Not Much Else

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

By sports car standards, Jaguar is selling a lot of F-Types. By Jaguar standards, Jaguar is selling a lot of F-Types.

But Jaguar USA isn’t doing so much with the selling of its other cars.

U.S. sales of the XJ, Jaguar’s S-Class rival, are down 16% through the first seven months of 2014 to just 2627 units. We don’t expect S-Class-like numbers from the XJ, but these aren’t even XJ-like numbers from the XJ. True, large luxury SUV flagships have done a number on large luxury sedan flagships, but the XJ is a car that attracted more than 10,000 buyers in both 2003 and 2004. Jaguar USA might sell 5000 in 2014.

Context: Mercedes-Benz is selling nearly 1900 S-Class sedans per month in what should be a boom year for the S-Class. The Audi A8, on the other hand, is a perennial low-volume large luxury player, and year-to-date volume is down 12%, but Audi has reported an XJ-besting 3137 A8 sales.

Thankfully, there’s the XF, a car that’s been around since 2008. Its best year was its first full year on the market, 2009, when 8578 were sold. Remember, 2009 was a dreadful year for auto sales in America. Sales of just about everything have increased since then. But XF volume in 2014, now that the range has been hugely expanded, is down 17% compared with the first seven months of 2013, which ended as the XF’s second-best sales U.S. sales year, 8% off 2009’s pace.

The XK is dead. We want to be sad that a conservatively handsome British grand tourer has disappeared, but buyers of this type of car won’t miss it, because they weren’t buying XKs to begin with. Only 5674 have been sold in the last 43 months. Porsche has sold 6017 911s in America in the last seven months. No, Jaguar isn’t Porsche. But to suggest that it’s alright for Jaguar to sell the XK in ridiculously small numbers is to forget that the XK has, at points, been half of Jaguar’s lineup. Or a third of the lineup. Or now, a forgotten quarter of Jaguar’s lineup.

The F-Type, on the other hand, especially now that it’s available in both coupe and convertible form, is a popular car by SLK, Z4, TT, Boxster, and Cayman standards, if not the ever-popular 911. Jaguar has sold 2238 F-Types this year. Year-over-year volume during the last three months, the only three months for which we have year-over-year numbers, has risen 48%. The F-Type was Jaguar’s best-selling car in May, when it generated 33% of the brand’s volume. It was Jaguar’s best-selling car in the U.S. in June, when it generated 34% of the brand’s volume. The F-Type was also Jaguar’s best-selling car in the U.S. in July, with 42% of the brand’s volume.

In July, the F-Type’s 501 sales placed it ahead of the Audi TT (101), BMW Z4 (120), and Mercedes-Benz SLK (416). The Boxster and Cayman combined to sell 559 units. Porsche also sold 849 911s.

At 501 units, the F-Type’s best month since it arrived in May of last year, the F-Type easily outsold the Mazda MX-5 and trailed the Nissan 370Z (636 July sales) with surprising closeness. The F-Type isn’t a high-volume car, but among cars of this type, it’s far from being a low-volume car.

The allure of its design, its symphonic engines, and its ability to stretch far upmarket cause enthusiasts to hope against reason that the upcoming entry-level XE – a name which sounds terribly Toyota trim level-like – could be equally gorgeous, equally pleasing to drive, and equally successful.

Non-F-Type Jags are selling very poorly in the United States right now. Combined, the XF, XJ, and XK are down 14.5% this year; they were down 46% in July. The same fate cannot strike the XE a couple or even a few years into its first model cycle.

Or else Tata will be forced to rely on Land Rover for its premium content. Yes, that Land Rover, the brand that currently accounts for 76% of U.S. JLR sales, up from 44% a decade ago.

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

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  • Healthy skeptic Healthy skeptic on Aug 10, 2014

    Jaguars have always been first and foremost about beautiful styling. At least, that's the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear "Jaguar". The F-types are gorgeous cars, good-looking and nicely proportioned from every angle. The design looks integrated and consistent all the way around. It looks exotic without trying to be, which is a very difficult task to pull off, I think. The rest... The XF looks very plain-Jane from the side, like a standard Mom-mobile sedan from Toyota or Honda. The front is pretty plain as well, except for the prominent grille slapped in the center that doesn't match the rest of the front. The back looks good, though, attractive and high-end. The XJ looks lumpy and bloated from a lot of angles. The back looks like it's trying to be a Caddy. The whole design just seems a weird assortment of odds and ends. My least favorite. The XK is much better, and says "Jaguar" to me. Back and sides are good-looking and well integrated. The front has something I don't like, though. The face of the car looks a little like a sad goldfish, like the car is feeling a bit woeful. Jags should look confident and assertive. With a front-end face lift (almost literally), this would be a very attractive car. I think design has a lot to do with these sales numbers. Go to the Jag website and see the designs for yourself:

  • VenomV12 VenomV12 on Aug 11, 2014

    They went to a V6 from the V8 for a big luxobarge, there is nothing luxury about a V6, especially in a massive luxury sedan. I guarantee you that played a huge part in killing their sales, add in the fact that the new S Class is on a whole other level and it is not looking good for them.

    • See 1 previous
    • VenomV12 VenomV12 on Aug 11, 2014

      @Corey Lewis No, the worst part was they replaced the V8 with a V6 but kept the price the same which I am sure ticked off potential buyers. If they had lowered it, it would be one thing, but it just came across as trying to gouge buyers. JLR did the same crap with the Range Rover too, but they are harder to come by so their buyers accepted it more I think. I don't know the breakdown between V6 and V8 Range Rover sales to make a proper assessment. You have to search far and wide to find people driving V6 version of S-Classes, 7 series, A8s and the like.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.