Desperately Seeking Sales: Jaguar's SUVs Are Not Keeping Volume Steady

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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desperately seeking sales jaguar s suvs are not keeping volume steady

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.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Sep 01, 2018

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

  • LeaperNYC LeaperNYC on Sep 03, 2018

    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.

    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Sep 04, 2018

      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.

  • 285exp If the conversion to EVs was really so vital to solve an existential climate change crisis, it wouldn’t matter whether they were built by US union workers or where the batteries and battery materials came from.
  • El scotto Another EBPosky, "EVs are Stoopid, prove to me water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius" article.It was never explained if the rural schools own the buses or if the school bus routes are contracted out. If the bus routes are contracted out, will Carpenter or Bluebird offer an electric school bus? Flexmatt never stated the range of brand-unspecified school bus. Will the min-mart be open at the end of the 179-mile drive? No cell coverage? Why doesn't the bus driver have an emergency sat phone?Two more problems Mr. Musk could solve.
  • RICK Long time Cadillac admirer with 89 Fleetwood Brougham deElegance and 93 Brougham, always liked Eldorado until downsized after 76. Those were the days. Sad to see what now wears Cadillac name.
  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.