By on July 10, 2015

Jaguar F-Type S AWD

So I’m reading through Autoblog (Motto: All the recall stories that are fit to print!), and I come across an article about how Jaguar is now developing an even higher performance version of the F-Type sports car.

That’s right, folks: soon, Jaguar dealers across the country will be graced with yet another six-figure car that nobody wants to buy.

If you’re an F-Type fan (who isn’t?), then you might be surprised to hear me say this — but it’s true. Cars.com does a monthly list of the slowest selling cars on the market — not by sales volume, but by actual days each car spends on the lot — and some version the F-Type is always near the top. It’s often stopped from being the true number one vehicle by only more overpriced cars, like the BMW 6 Series and the Kia K900.

So why are they developing a high-performance version? Because Jaguar remains convinced that this is the way to attract younger, hipper car shoppers: by offering the same old thing with more power at an even higher price tag. The main problem with the F-Type, Jaguar apparently believes, is that it isn’t expensive enough.

Of course, Jaguar is terribly wrong in this assessment. Not only is the main problem with the F-Type that it’s far too expensive, but its other issue is that it’s the latest entrant in a dying segment. Remember the late 1990s, when the BMW Z3 and the Mercedes SLK were everywhere? That world is gone now; dead and buried. Young people aren’t buying two-seat roadsters anymore.

Young people also aren’t buying full-size luxury sedans, which constitutes the entirety of Jaguar’s remaining lineup. There’s the large XJ — ultra-cool when it first came out, but quickly fading into obscurity as used models now trade in the low- to mid-$30,000 range — and the XF, which is among the oldest luxury sedans on the market. When the XF went on sale, people had never heard of Sarah Palin.

And young people certainly aren’t buying larger two-door cars, like the brand’s recently cancelled XK convertible. Yes, it’s true: the XK has finally left market after nearly a decade, largely unchanged, using the same general styling as it did when it rolled off the lot just after I gradated from high school. When the XK first went on sale, people had never heard of Katy Perry.

So what are young people buying? Well, SUVs mostly. That’s been clear since the early 2000s, when we had Tahoes and Explorers and Cherokees and Navigators and Escalades flying off dealer lots at the same rate as promotional brochures. Everybody wanted a piece of the SUV action, and everybody got some of it: there were Hondas and Isuzus and Fords and Suzukis and Land Rovers and Mazdas. Everyone was in.

Except Jaguar.

Fifteen years later, Jaguar still doesn’t have an SUV. They keep telling us they will soon, but we’ve seen no real evidence of it aside from the occasional concept car and a test mule running around every now and again. They have, however, given us a name: The “F Pace,” which kind of sums up Jaguar’s feelings on creating an SUV in a timely manner like everyone else.

Instead, they’re creating a more expensive version of the F-Type. They’re also creating a small sedan called the XE, which seems doomed from the start. I say this because it’s virtually identical in styling to the XF, which is one of the oldest luxury cars on the market. I also say this because Jaguar’s previous small car attempt, the X-Type, did little aside from make sure that every Craigslist used car lot will always have at least one Jag on hand.

So here’s the question: are the XE and the F-Pace signs of a revitalized Jaguar? Right now, my instinctive reaction is that I’ll believe it when I see it. Jaguar always seems to be in the middle of some grand scheme that’s going to completely turn them around — like the 1997 XK8, and the aluminum 2004 XJ, and the X-Type. And frankly, it never really seems to work. What seems to happen instead is Jaguar releases the car, the market loves it for a year, and then everyone goes back to buying Mercedes. Meanwhile, Jaguar lets the design last for another decade.

So my message to Jaguar is this: the time has come to decide whether or not you’re serious. If you are, the time has come to act like it. Start redesigning your cars more often. Bring us new features. Get the XE and the F-Pace on the market. And then, someday, people might bring up Jaguar to discuss something other than the fact that used models cost the same as a dining room set.

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66 Comments on “Jaguar Needs to Get It Together...”


  • avatar
    Cactuar

    What is Jaguar’s unique selling proposition?
    Why would I want the F-Pace and not the Land Rover equivalent which has a stronger brand aura as far as SUVs go?
    I question the relevancy of Jaguar in the marketplace. I don’t understand what the brand means.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      “I question the relevancy of Jaguar in the marketplace. I don’t understand what the brand means.”

      Ditto.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      I do not know where you are getting your information from for this article ,but Jaguar is testing a SUV as I write. Jaguar just opened a new factory for it’s integnum series of modular engines

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    So So So So So So So So So So DOUG BOT CRASH

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    Not to stick a fork in one of your arguments, but I just bought a (very) large two-door car. 1963 Ford Thunderbird. And I traded in a 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution to get it.

    The F-type is a fantastic car in looks and mild performance aspirations. But it is overpriced by more than a few thousand dollars compared to what you get from other manufacturers.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Personally I think your critique is a bit harsh. The F Pace is only a few months away with a prototype running around in the Tour De France as a support car. So not long now.

    The XE is crucial in Europe and at home for Jaguar. The F type is a glamour model for the range. Does Porsche need the 911 when SUV’s make them a lot more money? Does Mazda need the MX5? Also do bear in mind that Jag is quite heavily focusing it’s styling decisions on it’s domestic market. The S type and X Type were retro nasties that went down badly at home so for that reason Jag created the F type and forward looking XF and XJ.

    Whilst I agree Jag need more SUV’s than just the F-Pace it’s worth bearing in mind that they are the next models Jaguar are most likely to make. But one thing at a time please. The XE, XF and F-Pace all launch this year….. how much faster do you want them to go?

    Oh and did I mention that JLR’s plants are running at capacity? They need to build factories as quickly as they are launching new models.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Everybody loves the F-type, it’s handsome and exactly what a Jaguar sports car. However if I were in the market I would have a hard time justifying the price.

    I’m also not in love with the new XE. Or any of Jaguars sedans at the moment. I’m pretty bearish about Jaguar at the moment. Maserati and Alfa Romeo are coming for the luxury market and Sergio is thursty.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Everyone says they love the F-Type and then they go and buy a Porsche. I’ll bet that how the thought process goes 90% of the time, someone goes out the the Jaguar dealership dead set on getting an F-Type and somehow at the end of the day comes how with a 911, Cayman or Boxster.

      • 0 avatar
        itsfred

        And the reason would be…the Porsche drives a hell of a lot better than the F-Type, which manages to feel heavy/ponderous and twitchy/hyperactive at the same time. Anyway that’s why I traded MY two-month-old F-type for a Boxster.

  • avatar
    carguy

    No doubt the F-Type is a great landing at the wrong airport (and an expensive one at that) and that they need to diversify. I think what is stopping them is a disease called Aston Martinitis, It a condition that afflicts small car makers and prevents them from having the sales numbers to warrant the R&D investments required to develop enough competitive products. You see, a new SUV or new engine are really expensive to develop but a few go-fast bits on an existing model are actually quite cheap – so that is what they do.

    What Jaguar needs is a partnership with a large luxury car maker so they can reduce their R&D costs.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Yeah it’s too bad they can’t partner with a company that is raking in money hand over fist like Land Rover. Imagine how much more money they could spend on designing new engines if they were sharing them with Land Rovers and Range Rovers!
      Maybe they could even come up with some kind of “ingenious” name for a new family of modular gas and diesel engines too!

  • avatar
    twotone

    All it really needs are two things:

    1. nice big normally aspirated V8
    2. manual transmission

    Done!

  • avatar
    facelvega

    I for one do not like the F-type. Too busy, a little vulgar, not distinguished in the way I’d like to see from Jaguar. If I were throwing that kind of money to the wind on a pretty non-German luxury sportster, I’d get a Maserati.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      I love Ian Callum’s designs, but the F-type is surprisingly cramped and has little luggage space. It also has a jarring ride (even compared to a 911). For a young person who is rich and rowdy enough to get one, but would use it as their only car, it doesn’t work. For that matter, middle-agers who might want it as a 2nd car can’t get enough luggage into it for a weekend getaway.

      The 911 remains a surprisingly practical choice, although most of the people I know who could afford cars in this price range are driving SUVs, BMW / Mercedes / Audi sedans with big motors, or, if range isn’t a problem, Teslas.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The Doug Bot speaks!

    “Remember the late 1990s, when the BMW Z3 and the Mercedes SLK were everywhere? That world is gone now; dead and buried. Young people aren’t buying two-seat roadsters anymore.”

    Unless you’re going to present evidence to the contrary young people as a group never bought European roadsters for both cost and insurance reasons. Sure there were spoiled whores who had them, but typically those spoiled whores were also somebody’s sugar baby. By and large the people I saw driving SL/SLKs, Z3s, TTs, and XK8/XJS in the 1998-2004 period when I worked in golf were 50yo Boomers or very old ladies.

    “Because Jaguar remains convinced that this is the way to attract younger, hipper car shoppers: by offering the same old thing with more power at an even higher price tag.”

    “Young people also aren’t buying full-size luxury sedans, which constitutes the entirety of Jaguar’s remaining lineup. There’s the large XJ — ultra-cool when it first came out, but quickly fading into obscurity as used models now trade in the low- to mid-$30,000 range — and the XF, which is among the oldest luxury sedans on the market. When the XF went on sale, people had never heard of Sarah Palin.”

    Clearly you do not understand the Jaguar situation at all. The brand was starved for product development money just as Volvo was thus the XF -which is built on the 1998 Ford/Jaguar DEW98 platform- has soldiered on while the XJ you deride is X351 is a slight revision of the 2004 X350. The F-type and upcoming XE are the brand’s first all new products in over a decade.

    “Fifteen years later, Jaguar still doesn’t have an SUV.”

    Jaguar should not be building SUVs because that is the purpose of Land Rover. Jaguar might be able to squeeze out some kind of BMW X3 like product and sell it on some kind of racing heritage type angle, but they risk cannibalizing LR sales.

    “Instead, they’re creating a more expensive version of the F-Type. They’re also creating a small sedan called the XE, which seems doomed from the start. ”

    The F-type was probably designed with AWD in mind and introducing a new variant probably doesn’t cost much. Whether they should or not is a another story, but if more margin can be made why not? The XE is exactly the type of thing brain damaged hipster doofus buyers want: a sedan that’s too small to be a sedan complete with gaudy looks and a turbo’d motor. Even if this is the wrong product to build, Jaguar is a global brand owned by an Indian conglomerate. The product they do build must be able to be sold to a BRICS nation as well as a European/US audience. Even if XE or F-type are bombs in the US what may matter more is how well the product sells in China, India etc.

    IMO the better use of the development money they did have was an XF replacement vs F-type/XE, BUT this is more of a US focused idea. The XF would be considered a large car in many parts of the world, where here it is a midsize (and barely one at that). I would have gone XF for loaded C-class money route as Cadillac did its CTS “5 series for 3 series money” angle until Cadillac torpedoed its Sigma CTS but again this is a US focus.

    • 0 avatar
      Ihatejalops

      Ripping on Doug’s columns is like telling a 5 year old he can’t do calculus.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Lulz.

        I tried to inject some thought into my reply. I give the Doug Bot credit for attempting to write an analysis, even if I may disagree.

        • 0 avatar
          nrcote

          > I tried to inject some thought into my reply.

          Don’t bother.

        • 0 avatar
          ellomdian

          You had quite a bit of thought, but your major point is really simple:

          Jaguar needs a CUV/SUV as much as Land Rover needs a full-sized 4-door luxury sedan. Just because every other idiotic brand on the planet has decided that every sub brand needs a full vehicle lineup does not mean that it’s the best way to run a business.

          Jag will (and should) continue to stick to everything Station Wagon sized and smaller. Their biggest problem is (and has been for more than a decade) that people LOVE to test drive the Jag, but they spend money at Porsche and MB.

          • 0 avatar

            The Jag/Land Rover thing is spot on. Tata owns both of them, and the brands are often co-located in the same dealership. A Jaguar SUV would, at best, just canabalize customers from Land/Range Rover. And it’s hard to imagine that customers, given a choice of a Range Rover with it’s history/status and a Jag SUV, would go with the Jag.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You make an excellent point on test driving Jag vs buying Porsche/MB/BMW.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            As long as Jag differentiates the styling of its CUVs from LR, should add to sales instead of merely cannibalizing sales.

            The problem with Jaguar is that it has overly focused on performance – 2-door coupes (a dying segment) and sedans which focus on performance rather than things that most buyers care about (interior room, luxury, intuitive infotainment systems, etc.) – basically the same problem Cadillac has with the ATS and CTS (esp. when it comes to passenger room).

            As long as Jaguar sedans lag behind the competition in space, luxury appointment, etc. – they will continue to lag a good bit behind in sales.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Jaguar are already in the process of producing a SUV. The article completely got that wrong

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        I was going to say this less eloquently.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      When have young people EVER bought expensive 2-seaters new? These cars were exclusively bought new by empty nesters, and always have been.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      “IMO the better use of the development money they did have was an XF replacement vs F-type/XE”

      They ARE releasing a new XF for 2016! It’s an all new car, but it faces the same issue as the 2016 Camaro: the design is so similar to the old car that most people will assume it is just a refresh rather than an all new model. The new car shares the iQ[AI] platform developed for the XE.

  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    I have to say I agree with the conclusion but disagree with the premise….

    I don’t think even if they had jumped on the SUV craze that things would be better for Jag than they are now. The problem, in my view, is that the “brand” doesn’t speak to their target market. They are a lot like Maserati in that their products, while beautiful, are an also-ran in technology. More importantly, there isn’t a brand equity that allows them to expand their offerings and be given the benefit of the doubt (I’m looking at you, Porsche.)

    From the perspective of someone who has owned a lot of the products from Brown’s Lane, it seems to me they should be a little more like Mazda (focus on what makes them special and infuse it in every vehicle AT THE RIGHT PRICE) and less like Lotus (charge so much by staying true to the brand that you become a sub-niche that no one cares about and eventually becomes a footnote in history).

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Ridiculous editorial. If you look at JLR as a single unit, they are doing just fine. It’s just that SUVs are outselling cars, just like in the broader market.

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    Why does he keep referring to young people? What is that demographic? As an aside, most “young persons” can’t afford luxury cars. Jaguar’s problem is they don’t know how to market themselves not that the XF is old. In fact, the XJ and XF are one of the better looking cars on the road.

    But that’s a Doug column, an attempt to be witty and funny (is never either) and attempts to sound intelligent about the intellectual part of the business are always flat.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The part about the dining room set was spot on. A friend of mine just replaced her leased Civic with a used car from Carmax. The two finalists were a Jaguar XF and a Honda CR-V, both 2011s. The price was the same, she really liked the Jaguar’s interior, and she still couldn’t bring herself to take it over the CR-V EX-L Navi. I asked if they told her about their warranty, but she doesn’t have time to deal with an unreliable car. It probably didn’t help the Jaguar’s chances that her two previous cars were a VW Cabriolet and a Mazda 3 that ate its engine at 80K miles.

  • avatar
    arun

    Did you have a quota to meet this month or something? Did you write this out 6 months ago and decide it to send it in cos you couldn’t do better? This article has to be the most ill-timed article I have seen in a while.

    Right when they they release the XE – that apparently is better than the equivalent 3 series and 2 months away from releasing the F-Pace to cash in on the SUV madness, you come up with an article titled ‘Jag needs to get it together’ ?!? Ridiculous!

    Whether the above mentioned game plans will result in them changing their fortunes in USA is something only time will tell but without a doubt, this is the first time in a long time that JLR appears to have finally ‘gotten it together’

  • avatar
    meefer

    So, because I’m taking delivery of an F-type V8, does that make me old (35)? A fool with departed money?

    If you want to “sell” to young people, the steak is the <$299 a month lease payment (maybe $349), everything else is sizzle.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I would bet if Jag got rebadged Land Rovers JLR would see a net increase in volume.

    I agree that the XE is a mistake. At the minimum it should have come after the F Pace. XE looks like it’s a great car, but as far as carving out meaningful marketshare it’s a good 12-20 years too late. F Pace is also a little too big given what CUV segments are hot right now.

    The question one has to ask is what is it that Jag has that anyone else doesn’t? Aside from much better designed interiors, not much.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I have been end to end of this country in the last year a few times, NYC, Chicago, Miami, LA, Vegas, Dallas, etc etc, even Toronto and I think I have seen maybe 5 F-Types if that. In contrast I have to have seen at least 300 Bentley Continental GTs, 200 Rolls Royce Ghosts, 20 R8s, 10 Aventadors, 4 McLarens, hell I’ve seen more Veyrons than I have seen F-Types. It has to be a truly atrocious seller. It looks good, the price is reasonable, it sounds great, no idea why it won’t sell.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    “When the XF went on sale, people had never heard of Sarah Palin.”

    Ah, happy times.

    The entire premise of this article seems to be wrong. Jaguar isn’t trying to market to younger people, period.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    A friend of mine from college just bought or leased a new F type.He’s 40. Part of the allure was , is now that Tata owns Jaguar, its somewhat the stylish choice amongst Indian American professionals.
    I prefer the XE styling over the German competitors, I’d consider myself a target customer, and initial testing indicates a dynamic chassis, but my understanding is that there is no MT on the highest performance model and no LSD. Both requirements for any sporting vehicle in my mind.
    I’d be interested in a Giulia, but FCA’s poor reputation for reliability will likely keep this Italoamerican away.

  • avatar
    ajla

    In going off Jack’s article today, I’ll start caring about Jaguar when they start offering I6s, V12s, thick carpets, and a forest of wood.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    Jaguar XE seems to be the best car on the market:
    http://www.autoblog.com/2015/06/29/bmw-335i-jaguar-xe-comparison-motor-trend-video/

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    The XE is for the highly competitive “company car” segment in the UK to compete with the BMW 3 series.

    Most of them will be diesels.

    Very little to do with the US,

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    I wish they made a more enthusiast friendly version of the F-type instead of just a more expensive one.I love the way F-Type looks and sounds, but for me the lack of a manual is a total deal breaker. The same is true with the Alfa 4C…another car I like on many fronts, but the lack of transmission choice nixes it as an option.

    Until then, sticking with zee Porsche.

  • avatar
    robc123

    I don’t even understand why you would want a big fat, elevated whale of a vehicle in a urban setting.
    Everything about SUVs are wrong- visability, Parking, low speed steering, stop and go- if their was ever a vehicle that would be more unsuited to 21st century, driving its the SUV.

    I have no idea why these sell, and the status part of SUVs, in this class obsessed world is zero.

    maybe its like those people who wear pajamas and crocs to the supermarket- zero f’s given.

    Or are we all here missing something?

    • 0 avatar
      Nostrathomas

      I think SUV’s are less to do with practicality/reason/status…and more just to be like everyone else. When it comes to cars, people look around to see what others are buying, and then go for the same. It’s a snowball effect.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Personally I love CUVs….better sightlines, more comfortable seating position, more cargo room…well worth the mpg hit over a sedan.

        Not that I could afford an F-pace, but now is the time to introduce a luxury CUV if ever…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Better Title: “Jaguar Has Never Quite Had Its Sh*& Together”

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Every time I see the new Jaguars in the wild I have two thoughts in this order:

    1) That is a beautiful car…

    2) I would never own one.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    I wonder if they can get this one in under 5,000 pounds lol. Jaguar’s aluminum body cars sure are impressive. If it was steel, it would probably weigh more than an S600 Maybach, which is just what you want in a sports car.

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    The thing that floors me about the F-Type is how expensive the entry model is. When I first saw it, I was expecting maybe a 50k car, which is in line with the starting prices of the SLK/Z4/baseCayman/TT.

    If I had to guess the strategy, it’s to use the F-Type to shape and build Jag’s brand image and convert that into sales of higher-volume, lower-cost models like the XE and a future F-Pace. Maserati is currently trying to do the same with the Ghibli. It’ll be expensive and risky, but with Tata’s capital resources, their chances of pulling it off are much better than previous attempts.

    The lack of an SUV is probably due to a combination of them wanting to define the brand first, and Range Rover. At the moment, an SUV or crossover might be incongruous with the brand image they’re trying to build, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to wait a little longer before coming out with the F-Pace.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Where the Duck does the assumption that “Young People” are Jag’s target demographic, an important demographic to luxury auto manufacturers, or represended by DDM’s vague musings come from?

    • 0 avatar
      cimarron typeR

      Pretty sure it has to do with conquests and eventual brand loyalty for future purchases, though I’m a consumer but not an industry insider.Not sure how you can achieve this without a respectable entry level car, we shall see with the XE.
      Incidentally , every single F type I’ve seen in my toney ‘burb is driven by a 60 plus year old male.

  • avatar
    64andahalf

    I am a bit surprised by the venom directed towards Doug, but I have to agree with most of the negative comments about this article.

  • avatar
    Sgt Beavis

    This is great news for the eventual used F-type market.

  • avatar
    automaniak

    JLR new investment, 350,000 vehicles a year with production due to begin in 2019

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-03/jaguar-in-talks-on-setting-up-1-85-billion-car-plant-in-poland

  • avatar
    naterator

    Holy cow. I don’t really pay attention to what cars cost these days, but mid-60s for the F type? Wow.

  • avatar
    jayzwhiterabbit

    I just can’t get over the current XJ. It’s hard to take the brand seriously when the flagship is a turd on wheels.

  • avatar
    hifi

    During the many many many many many many times I brought my Range Rover in for unscheduled service in the past two years, I got to know the Jaguar/RR sales team really well. They are so happy to have the F Type because the average age of the Jaguar buyer has always been over 70. Meaning, there isn’t much repeat business. The average age has brought that down substantially with the F. Young people may not be buying these cars, but young affluent people are. They may not be selling like Porsches, but anything is an improvement over what Jaguar was moving off the floor before. Frankly, it is too expensive, and the interior and other details are too conspicuously cheap to reinforce the price. It’s not Kia Elantra cheap, but it feels like it won’t last and is not good enough for a car that hovers around the $100k pricepoint.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    Aren’t Jaguars still just Fords with Tammy Faye make-up?

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