By on August 30, 2018

For a builder of sexy vehicles with an enviable heritage, Jaguar always seems to be in a state of semi-crisis. From past reliability issues to a combination of aging and lackluster products under Ford’s oversight, the storied British brand was then cast off like a pair of trousers at Lover’s Lane, only to see its fortunes rise after its purchase by India’s Tata Motors. Cash poured in and product development ramped up.

When the sport/luxury F-Pace SUV arrived in 2016, Jaguar’s volume saw a corresponding boost, helping squash another threat: the rapidly growing hatred of sedans by a voraciously pro-utility American public. But you know what they say about things that go up…

After struggling out of the recession under new ownership, U.S. Jaguar sales tripled between 2012 and 2017. The biggest jump occurred between the 2015 and 2016 calendar years, when annual volume doubled.

There’s one vehicle to blame for that increase: the F-Pace, introduced in May of 2016. Never mind that Jag also introduced a new XJ flagship at the beginning of the decade, following it up with an XF midsizer, XE compact, and F-Type coupe. Any doubts that existed in the mind of purists were laid to rest after seeing what an SUV could do for a moribund car-only brand’s sales.

Naturally, Jaguar decided its SUVs should move downward in both price and size, with the first E-Pace sales hitting the U.S. books in January of this year. What’s happened since then?

By the end of July, overall Jaguar volume dropped 30.9 percent, year-to-date, despite the addition of a new model. The total of 6,903 F-Pace vehicles sold in the U.S. over the first seven months of 2018 is 40.5 percent lower than the same period last year, and the E-Pace can’t make up the difference. Since January, Jag added 1,753 E-Paces to its brand-wide tally, but lost 4,696 F-Paces. Sedans and coupes can’t be counted on to jump into the fray and boost volume.

In terms of cars, Jaguar sold 8,011 of them over the first seven months of the year. The same period last year? Jag unloaded 12,524 sedans and coupes. As with most other automakers, Jag’s product mix is skewing heavily towards SUVs, and those SUVs need to sell well, pay off their development costs, and send a continuous flood of gravy to head office. There’s reason to believe the electric I-Pace, due out soon, will give Tesla’s Model X and perhaps S a run for its money, though we have to wonder what the margins are on the new green Jag.

While still a relatively new model, it looks like the F-Pace has peaked. However, given the public’s growing demand for SUVs of all stripes, you never know what the future holds for the model. What’s clear is that the burden placed on Jaguar SUVs will only grow heavier.

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53 Comments on “Desperately Seeking Sales: Jaguar’s SUVs Are Not Keeping Volume Steady...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Bring back the heritage styling, inside and out, NAO!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This. I know Jaguar tried to move away from XJ-redux, and I understand why, but it isn’t working.

      When a Fusion is better looking than your $70,000 midsize sport sedan, that’s a big issue.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      On the (very long) way home from work the other night, I noticed a really nice Kia sedan up ahead. It was dusk, and I wasn’t sure if it was a Cadenza or Optima or maybe a K900. As we got closer and began to overtake it, I realized it wasn’t any of those…

      It was a Jaguar.

      That should not have happened. 15 years ago, you’d know a Jag from much further away. No possibility of mistaking it for a Korean aspirational.

      • 0 avatar
        WallMeerkat

        “That should not have happened. 15 years ago, you’d know a Jag from much further away. No possibility of mistaking it for a Korean aspirational.”

        Actually…

        The Daewoo Leganza could’ve been a Jag :)

        https://www.aronline.co.uk/cars/jaguar/xj6-xj12/concepts-and-prototypes-italdesign-kensington/

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daewoo_Leganza

        I know what you mean though, I was following a car the other day – is that an Optima or the new Stinger? Nope it was an XF.

  • avatar
    Lockstops

    In order to be as successful as VW Group brands they need to be like VW Group: mainly a marketing company that is massively corrupt. VW Group is 100% marketing first, and all their cars are basic and platform-sharing as can be, just with a shine on top made with a thin veneer of shiny materials on the interior and fancy looking lamps which is then a tool for the marketing machine to push.

    The amount VW Groups spends to grease journalists and everyone they can in the media, fleet managers, government officials…dieselgate pales in comparison.

    Jaguar needs to push their cars with the most thoroughly researched psychologically effective ways (they also need an army of psychologists in their marketing machine), and then buy their way into every surface that affects the image, affects every way that there is contact with the brand. Every customer segment has to look around and see that brand as ‘the’ choice. Their surroundings have to have it sponsored, their friends have to own them and talk about them.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      If they want to do a VW group they need more brands. VW can sell an economy Skoda as an Audi just with badging.

      Tata/JLR own, along with Jaguar and Land Rover, the Rover brand (the original car company from which LR was spun out), though the other brands they own via Jag aren’t much use – Daimler gets confused with the Mercedes parent company, and Lanchester haven’t produced a car since the 1950s.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Not a fan of Panamera but they have a following. Imagine an F-type equivalent.

  • avatar

    Part of Jaguar brand DNA is (or was) a stunning interior swathed in sumptuous leather and copious amounts of gorgeous wood gracing the instrument panel. It was part of what made a Jaguar so special. The new Jags simply don’t have that at all. They have lost their specialness by leaving out this essential part of their brand DNA.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I was walking during my lunch break the other day, and a black sedan passed by me. At first, I had no idea what kind of car it was, and then as it drove off into the distance, I was finally able to ID it from the Jaguar cat logo on the trunk. But for all I could tell, the thing was a Hyundai.

    Ditto for the Jaguars on this page – cover up the badges on the F-pace-type-whatevers in the pictures above and ask yourself who makes the cars.

    I think that pretty much sums up the problem with this brand. And don’t get me started on the cheap, stark interiors.

  • avatar
    FWD Donuts

    Got an S-Type R in my relatively small fleet. Unique styling — some don’t care for it — but so what. Nice, but not overly fussy, interior. Good power. Leaper on the hood. Had some issues pop up here and there but I handled most of them.

    While Tata has spent a lot on product — they’ve completely lost sight of the brand. Now it’s kind of just another Audi without the volume and name recognition. There’s nothing distinctive about it. The font on the logo was changed to these phony chrome letters that look like they belong on a box of condoms. Leaper’s gone off the hood. Throw in some weird styling decisions, such as the decklid design of the F-Type and the weird headlights and tail lights on the XE and XF — no wonder their sales have crapped out.

    And all of their wheel designs suck.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    They’re trying to compete on price, and failing. “Not selling? De-content and lower the price!”

    No.

    You know the old saw about when you first walk into prison, you set your reputation by going right up to the biggest guy and whaling on him until he’s down?

    Yeah. Jag should make class-leading interiors and tell the world, “Yeah, it’s $80K; how many do you want?” People at that level tend to respond to “if it costs more, it must be worth more”.

    I’ll tell you, I’d drive a Stelvio long before I’d drive a Jag. If you’re going into the market, stand out and do something quirky. Italian that’s a hoot to drive? Absolutely. You mean I can also get it with 505hp and mile wide tires? I’ll take 3.

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      Or then they should go the Audi route: make their products far more cheaply than the competition, with crap FWD chassis but a thin layer on top that ‘looks premium’, and sell them for less money too. Then pour in massive amounts on marketing to pump up the image. If there’s something people love (especially in Europe) then it’s buying a cheaper car but feeling that it’s superior (even though it’s the opposite).

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        “Superior” depends on what you want. Just because a chassis is FWD doesn’t mean it’s crap… and just because a car is on a RWD chassis doesn’t mean it isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      @Jalop1991, this is the right answer. Will luxury car makers never learn that reaching down market is a short term solution to a long term problem? You’ll get the badge whores, but alienate your core customer. The badge whores will move on to the next hot car and your core will never return

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        It did work for Audi though. They were much cheaper for a long time, until they built the brand up enough with BS marketing for people to think they’re any good and on par with BMW and Mercedes (and of course since they got a lot of customers to buy them they immediately start believing that their car is the best in the world), and now they cost as much and in many cases even more!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    As a driver who is 6’6″, I find Jaguar’s interiors to be very small.

    As for the product, the only thing I’m interested in is the new I-Pace, which also appears to have a large enough interior and a well thought out electric drivetrain. I think I really would buy it if I had the money, but for some reason Jaguar can’t seem to get it on the market fast enough.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    People are always complaining that Cadillac has strayed far from its heritage (which is true), but I think Jaguar has done so to a much greater and more damaging extent. I honestly do not know what Jaguar stands for anymore — not even what they’re TRYING to stand for internally.

    Their base models look horribly cheap on the outside — look at the base XE or F-Pace. Interiors are far from the wood and leather pleasuredomes of the past. E-Pace styling is goofy and will cost the model sales (that front end just looks so…derpy).

    So they’re not particularly luxurious, handsome, they don’t “look like money,” not the most reliable or best screwed-together, nor are they the best drivers’ cars. What’s left?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The people complaining about Cadillac would still complain if they still built luxo barges with bench seats and column shifters. “Why can’t they get with the times! Nobody wants to drive a pillow!”

      It wouldn’t matter what they (or Lincoln) did, the armchair quarterbacks would still go into long rambling b¡tch fits.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Jaguar need to sort out their interiors but the exterior look of their cars is fine. Remember this is a predominately US read website and whilst traditional looks seem to appeal in the US they completely fail in Jaguars largest market at home. When Ford took Jaguar all retro sales bombed because US sales did not increase faster than U.K. sales dropped.

    It’s also not helped by the fact that the average US car buyer has an obsession with SUVs.l so the market for sedans is just shrinking.

    Jaguar should probably walk away from the XE market and focus instead on making more variants of the XF. They should build a bigger SUV and a Audi R8 beater. The could build a Tesla Model 3 competitor, that would make sense!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “It’s also not helped by the fact that the average US car buyer has an obsession with SUVs.l so the market for sedans is just shrinking”

      The point of this article is that Jag’s SUVs aren’t really helping at all.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      The S type was panned because of the retro looks, especially as it launched at the same time as the German-led ‘traditional look’ Rover 75.

      The X type was criticised for also looking retro, when a junior exec should look modern, and for a minority of Ford parts (when VW gets away with parts sharing Skodas with Audis)

  • avatar
    Alex S

    The aging F pace is not longer the most attractive SUV and its sister company Land Rover is canibalizing the marketplace of the f pace.
    XE and E pace were death from the beginning falling short from the competition.
    I believe they need a better portfolio, like a F pace 4 door coupe, a 4 door coupe SUV like MB, a more attractive and cheaper XE, refreshing the F pace including a 7 passenger version

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Flash in the pan. It looks alright outside but it also looks like every other anonymous midsize 5-seat crossover. They hit saturation and now they’re no longer in vogue, so nobody wants another.

  • avatar
    Coolcar2

    Couldn’t agree more on their subpar interior quality for the asking price (XJ excluded). I fell in love with the XF wagon that was just introduced but that interior does not match the $70k starting price of that model, it looks more like a $45k car interior!

    Also they should not produce the base spec models with the tiny cheap looking wheels and measly 4 cyl engines. I know those models only attract the cheap monthly lease payment crowd that can say they drive a “Jag”, but it damages the brand and any cache they have built with their heritage throughout the years.

    • 0 avatar
      sckid213

      Completely agree on the base models (see my comment above). The base XE and F-Pace look awful, and I can only imagine how bad the E-Pace base model will look.

      Jag’s base models are the luxury class equivalent to FCA’s base models.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I often forget that Jaguar still exists as a manufacturer of cars.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    If you have a long torso, you probably won’t fit in an F-Pace comfortably. I love how it looks but it’s oddly proportioned for 6 footers and above with short legs.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    PEAK CUV AND SUV SALES.

    Ring the bell (as of about 7 months-11 months ago).

    The CUV and SUV space has become the most saturated and competitive segment in the automotive manufacturers world.

    It’s literally hard to keep count as to how many newly named or refreshed CUVs and SUVs there are, at present, WITH MORE ON THE WAY.

    For a variety of reasons, one of them being overproduction and saturation, if you want a CUV or SUV, but balk at the price of a new OR used one, bide your time and wait.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I believe that we have a general consensus. Jaguar has lost the thread. There is no compelling reason to get a Jag instead of one of its competition. The Jaguar marque no longer represents something unique.

    Where once the interior of a Jag had a presence like an exclusive London area Gentlemans Club, it now blends in with everything.

    Where you could previously easily identify a Jag by its profile, it is now generic.

    The performance of Jags is matched or exceeded by other makes.

    And questions about reliability, service and parts still exist.

    So time to reclaim its heritage. Manufacture vehicles that are distinct, not German ‘style’. Rich wood and leather, with thick wool carpeting. Some tasteful chrome on the exterior.

    Jags were once the preferred cars of quintessential British villains. Make them cool again.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      Ironically one of the issues Jag had, in the UK at least, was the “Arthur Daley” image. Middle aged dodgy businessman swanning about in XJs (and he also had a Daimler I think at one point).

      http://www.minder.org/cars/mindcar-jags.htm

      You’ll hear that Arthur Daley line trotted out in early Jaguar XF reviews.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/features/jaguar-xf-just-what-would-arthur-say-780381.html

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    A couple of easy things. Leases make up a significant portion of sales today. Throw more money at your lease rates AND ADVERTISE IT. This brings more people to the brand and feeds your used car supply. Be aggressive with your certified pre-owned programs AND ADVERTISE IT. Some of the old Jag stigma is in relation to reliability, maybe bump up your factory warranties AND…

    From a product perspective.
    1) Try harder on the Xe interior design
    2) You have the E-Pace which is close but you lack a true equivalent to the X3, Q3 (kinda 5), RDX, XT5 volume leaders. Go get one… You have access to a number of previously developed platforms that ginning something up shouldn’t take that long (LR Disco Sport platform?)— make it a compelling product though. No Ford Eco-boost 2.0 liters combined with cheap interiors like Disco Sport and Evoke… and to repeat… hurry up!
    3) Develop a flagship SUV slotted above F-Pace. 7 passenger?

  • avatar
    bd2

    Problem is that Jaguar (like Cadillac when it came to the ATS and CTS) focused too much on performance and handling and sacrificed when it came to interior space, including for its CUVs.

    Making things worse was Jag scrimping on the interior (since so much of the R&D $$ when to the lightweight platform and performance bits).

    Why get a Jag CUV when a Land Rover is roomier and more luxurious?

    The only one who has really managed to make hay out of the “sport” CUV is Porsche.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Many years ago Jaguar’s advertising motto was “Grace, Space, and Pace.” Through the years I think they lost the “Space.”

  • avatar
    gasser

    I agree with the above comments about Jaguar losing the essence of what was the Jaguar of 30-40 years ago. I’m just not sure that the man/woman who bought one then is still looking for the same qualities in a vehicle. Also we are in a time where Tesla is gobbling up sales in the upper 5 figures price zone. The sales of all of these big luxury sedans are falling (possible exception MBZ S Class). This means that there are not enough of the XJs around to jog buyers’ memories when the time comes to consider a new car. I think that one reason that the above posters couldn’t recognize a Jaguar is simply that they are too few and far between. That also means less $$$ to invest in gadgets and in development costs. It’s a death spiral shared by manufacturers of men’s hats, newlyweds china dishes, women’s stockings and nurses’ white uniform dresses. If you are not ahead of the curve you will never catch up.

  • avatar

    BTW most ugliest cars are Infinitis. I cannot fathom how people are able to convince themselves into buying these abominations.

  • avatar
    LeaperNYC

    Provocative post and – for the most part – good thoughtful discussion. Few thoughts:

    We don’t yet know the outcome of Maserati or Alfa Romeo’s strategies. Time will tell.

    Jaguar had a string of super successful launches both critically and (by their own historical standards) commercially: ’09 XF, ’11 XJ, ’13 F-Type, ’17 F-Pace. Indications so far for the ’19 I-Pace are encouraging. So there do not appear to be any broad issues around overall design direction or technology investment.

    Jag’s sister brand Land Rover (which outsells it 5:1 at higher price points) has played the SUV craze so well that one might legitimately still ask whether tall Jags are even needed.

    This just leaves the recent launches of ’15 XE and XF, and the ’18 E-Pace, none of which caused a splash. All have interiors that don’t live up to brand expectations, and none are performance leaders. XE and E-Pace in particular were meant to multiply overall sales by bringing new buyers into the brand, but failed.

    Still, Jaguar was viable before these growth investments, so their failure is unlikely to sink the brand.

    When someone sees a gorgeous car on the road and thinks it is a Hyundai before realizing it’s a Jag, you are merely observing how far the Koreans have progressed, and how rare and attractive Jaguars remain. (Those Italians look Korean too. Besides, plenty of Germans and Japanese cars also resemble each other – we just see more of them.)

    Jag owners are car lovers. There are fewer of us than ever, since as a society we are past peak (ICE) auto. My ’09 XF Super (@116k) still looks and runs like new, and garners way more attention than newer Germans. Future plans involve a used ’16 XJL Portfolio and perhaps eventually an electric Jag.

    If you’re in the market for a comparable vehicle, imho you’d be crazy not to consider a JLR product. Grace, space and pace with British flair (and modern quality) remain uniquely attractive.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I’ve never mistaken the Giulia for anything else. Its striking without going overboard (hello, Lexus). Yes, the Koreans have come up, but they aren’t the most beautiful cars on the road.

      The point is, Jags now look a lot more anonymous than they ever have in their past. It isn’t so much that Hyundai-Kia have reached Jag, its that Jag has fallen to the point to where they’ve lost their identity. People like to complain about the retro cars, but at least they looked like Jags, and I remember seeing a lot of them on the road.


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