Ian Callum Wants Another Jaguar XK, Seems Rather Unhappy the Jaguar XK Was Killed Off
“The XK being dropped was much to my frustration.”
– Jaguar design director Ian Callum
The Jaguar XK ended its 19-year-long run after the 2015 model year, undone by disappearing demand and the success of the smaller, more affordable Jaguar F-Type. But it wasn’t supposed to be this way, Jaguar design director Ian Callum says. The XK was supposed to roll along in third-gen form alongside the first-gen F-Type.
“The F-Type was never meant to kill the XK,” Callum tells Autocar.
In fact, despite the design work that had already begun on the next Jaguar XK — a car that never materialized — the marketing execs at Jaguar didn’t see the need for two coupes. The third-gen XK never enjoyed any engineering development.
Yet Callum’s outsized influence at Jaguar appears to be producing XK-shaped fruit in Jaguar’s product planning department. While there’ll likely be a new Jaguar F-Type first, you can begin inspecting your local Jaguar showroom for the next Jaguar XK in 2021.
By the end of just its second full year, Jaguar USA had already sold nearly 11,000 copies of the F-Type. Jaguar hadn’t sold that many XKs in the 2+2’s final seven years on the market. XK sales, meanwhile, had plunged from an annual U.S. average of more than 4,200 units a decade ago to fewer than 1,700 annually coming out of the recession.
Nevertheless, Ian Callum says, “I want a two-seater [the F-Type] and a 2+2.” Design work is underway. If the XK makes it back into Jaguar’s lineup, it will need to be properly distanced from the F-Type, Callum says. That means actual space for four people (not just four seatbelts) and their luggage.
Autocar says a 2021/2022 Jaguar XK would use the next F-Type’s architecture, which is expected to be a redeveloped version of the current F-Type’s platform, which was redeveloped from the departed XK.
With no partnerships on the horizon to make F-Type production more economically viable — Callum says, “We will be doing our own thing with the F-Type,” — a partnership inside the Jaguar lineup seems prudent. But sourcing volume for the XK won’t be easy. Prime competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (which has lost roughly 80 percent of its U.S. sales since the turn of the century) and BMW 6 Series (down 70 percent over the last five years) are fading.
Is Jaguar really the brand that can reignite interest in the segment?
[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]
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