An All-electric Jaguar Range? Might As Well…
Jaguar Land Rover has a problem, and it’s not Land Rover. The Indian-owned (but still quintessentially British) automaker has seen sales of is fairly vast Land Rover family flourish, at the expense of its Jag models. Sedan sales are grim, and the two SUVs launched to prop up the brand haven’t kept its head above water, volume-wise.
Reportedly, JLR has proposed a radical solution: turn the brand into an all-electric family, thus boosting the corporate MPG of the automaker as a whole while keeping Jaguar viable in a rapidly changing regulatory landscape. Putting aside heritage and associated romance, it’s hard to come up with an argument against it.
According to Autocar, company product planners have laid out a yet-unapproved strategy that would see the marque shed all gas-powered vehicles within the next decade. The inspiration for this plan is rooted in anger — specifically, that of Tata, JLR’s Indian owner. Tata doesn’t like how sales are trending, especially in light of its recent investments.
Reportedly, planning is at a fairly advanced stage. The outline of the strategy would see the flagship XJ convert to a full EV in the next couple of years (a plan already well advertised), with the XE and XF sedans bowing out in 2023. Their replacement would be an electric crossover slightly larger than Audi’s E-Tron, which would show up around 2025 — the same time as the phase-out of the F-Pace and E-Pace crossovers. There’ll also be a new I-Pace EV crossover (due in the U.S. this fall) appearing at this time. A new range-topping utility vehicle, the J-Pace, will launch for 2021 and enter retirement around 2027.
As for the F-Type sports coupe and convertible, it won’t make it halfway through the coming decade. No direct replacement is planned. Just to reiterate, this plan has not received a go signal from JLR.
Were JLR to pull the trigger, execs imagine a near future where Jaguar, with four or five models available, captures a large slice of Europe’s burgeoning premium EV segment. Other markets, China being at the top, could prove receptive as well.
European cities are increasingly pushing for all-out bans on internal combustion vehicles, with German cities already allowed to restrict use (and movement) of older diesel models within their boundaries. Going EV would give the brand free reign. The developments costs would be cushioned by the galloping Land Rover family, which continues to see its sales rise, and partially absorbed by higher MSRPs. A sharp rise in corporate fuel economy would also allow the Land Rover range to forgo expensive investments in electrification. Buyers seem to like their Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles just the way they are, and there’s the upcoming Defender to consider, too.
In the U.S., the steep sales increase seen from 2015 to 2017 reversed in 2018. Year to date, Jaguar sales are down 30 percent over the same period last year. September saw a 38 percent year-over-year decrease for the marque, while the Land Rover family rose 9 percent to a new record for the month.
Early reviews of the I-Pace crossover show Jaguar already has the capability of building an engaging EV with significant sporting and utility appeal. Owners of old E-Types can even have their rides converted to electric power without altering the car’s weight balance. In short: electrification is already attaching itself to Jaguar’s identity.
Those worried about heritage and tradition bemoaned the introduction of the F-Pace — a vehicle that’s done more to keep Jaguar alive in the past two years than anything else — and the continued shift of consumer preferences towards SUVs means survival as a company depends on following the changing winds and anticipating new ones. No one’s forecasting the return of the car, nor a decline in EV growth.
[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]
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