By on March 8, 2019

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Image: Jaguar

The American public’s rapid conversion to the Church of Crossover caught longtime car peddler Jaguar off guard, forcing the British brand to mull desperate measures to stay profitable. And not just in this market, either.

Jaguar is currently an anchor for Jaguar Land Rover, dragging the automaker’s finances into the red, and Indian parent Tata isn’t happy about it. It wants a quick turnaround. For Jaguar’s U.S. arm, that means less choice for future customers.

We’ve already told you how Jag simplified its XE offerings for 2020, adding more lux and fewer engines and trim levels. Now, JLR North America CEO Joe Eberhardt fills in the rest of the story, including the possibility that some nameplates might not have much time left.

Update: Jaguar has reached out to clarify that the XF Sportbrake, listed below as being in its last model year, will be sold for the 2020 model year. The company did not provide information about model years beyond that. — T.H.

Speaking to The Detroit Bureau, Eberhardt said, “I don’t want to say the speed of change took us by surprise, but they were too quick for us to react to immediately. It takes time to transform ourselves to the point we can be profitable again.”

He continued…

“I don’t think we knew how quickly that trend would happen when we did the F-Pace, E-Pace and I-Pace, so I guess you could call it luck,” the CEO said. “I can guarantee at the time, nobody said it would be 70% at planning meetings. The good news is that we have the product. The question now is how we react on the downside with cars that are not in demand.”

Limiting build options is already a thing at Jaguar U.S.A. In February, it was announced that the 2020 F-Type would lose its manual-transmission option — a feature only available on rear-drive, V6 models, and one that was only added after purists cried foul at the introductory model’s automatic-only proposition. It seems the stick’s take-rate was exceedingly low. Sales of the model, of course, are similarly depressed.

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Image: Jaguar

But it isn’t just sticks disappearing from the lineup. Models might, too. Certainly, low-volume variants are on the chopping block as Jaguar seeks to cut costs. It’s a key part of the brand’s new directive, Eberhardt said. While the future of Jag’s car models also hangs in the balance, that’s a decision for another day; in the short term, it’s cull time for things like wagons, and maybe diesel engines. Yes, wagons — like the only one Jaguar sells on this side of the Atlantic, and in the U.S. only.

The XF Sportbrake appeared on these shores in 2017 as a 2018 model in Prestige and sportier “S” guise. An all-wheel drive wagon, the Sportbrake offered a brace of turbocharged engines — a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6 — and remains in the automaker’s U.S. lineup for 2019. Its final year, it appears.

After this year, Eberhardt said, “We have to ask (which products) make sense anymore.”

While Land Rover posted record U.S. sales last year, Jaguar’s volume headed in the opposite direction. Sales shrank 23 percent in 2018.

Besides the market shift away from cars, other forces conspire to keep Eberhardt awake at night, topmost of which is the possibility of a no-deal Brexit and American tariffs levied on European cars.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

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40 Comments on “Jaguar’s Sexy XF Sportbrake Looks Doomed in the U.S. As Brand Enters Triage Mode [UPDATE]...”


  • avatar

    Too many Americans are too myopic to choose the variants of vehicle classes that cost the least, handle the best, and produce the best fuel economy.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Love the Sportbrake…

    Can’t afford it new.

    Sorry Jaguar, I’m no help.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Yup. I actually looked during my most recent car purchase last year, and couldn’t find one near me for under $75k. It’s enough of a looker that I might have bought one if I could swing it, but at those prices, no such luck.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Maybe it can be one of those “specialty niche cars” where it will depreciate down to 0 on a lease but then be worth of fortune among a certain select group of enthusiasts after. Like the Civic Type R. This strategy might even save Jaguar!

        • 0 avatar
          johnny_5.0

          I see you still lack any common sense or ability to search the internet. I’ll help you again. Go to Autotrader or another big car listing site. Search for XF wagons. I see several new ones listed for $23k under MSRP. Common sense tells us these won’t hold their value well right? While you are on one of those sites, take some time to look up used Civic Type Rs and maybe realize why your plan was dumb.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            @Johnny – Aww, do you have a Type R sitting in your garage and a $900/month payment book sitting on your table? LOL! At least you were first ;-)

            Anyway, just messing with you. But common sense tells me that your 5 minute google search of what’s going on in the market today does not predict the future. My own quick internet search shows me six Type R’s on eBay right now. One is a 2019 with 0 miles and it’s 3 days into the auction with 0 bids. Probably because the price is over MSRP. This dealer hasn’t gotten the memo yet. A couple of re-listings should do it though. I’m watching that one.

            The rest are low mileage 2018s. One is on auction with 1,800 miles on it and a full warranty. It’s up to 26k thus far. I’ll watch that one too but I’ll be surprised if it crests 33k. A brand new ’18 I just watched with 3 miles maxed out in an auction in early February at $34.9k with a whopping 2 bids.

            If you click on the links of the BIN or “Best Offer” ones, you’ll notice the words “below market” underneath those little hopeful fixed prices. And if you hit “add to watch list” I bet you’ll soon start getting e-mails from eBay telling you that “an item you’ve been watching has been relisted.”

            The Type R was very hyped. But the initial hype has worn off. The supply of teenagers with wealthy parents and the impulsive “must have” crowd has been exhausted. Just because dealers haven’t caught up with that yet doesn’t make you a genius, or in any way support your snide rebuttal to my argument. Your rebuttal is static and not forward looking.

            Next, the prices will start to fall, probably rapidly. Then, in 3 years, my strategy will pay off, just as I said and just as Honda obviously predicted with its non-existent residual value on the lease.

            Bad news for buyers now but who knows, I might throw in an extra couple hundred bucks if it’s resale red, LOL!

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I’d own a type R if you could get it in a body that didn’t look so stupid. Make a mature looking version and sell it at an Acura dealer and I’d buy. As it is, It is too ugly.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        XF wagoms are down to $45-55K with $15-20K off MSRP. I think Corey should hang up his Birkenstocks and trade too in for one XF SB!

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          Well, when the XF Sportbrake finally leaves the stage there will still be a very adequate supply of TourX’s to choose from with many ’18 models at more than $10k – $12k off sticker (Cars dot com lists 1479 ’18s and 1365 ’19 models total available nationwide but their figures are usually low). You’ll probably need some jumper cables and a crowbar to boost the batteries and pry the tires from the lot surface if you want one. Same car, right Norm?

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Bullnuke, the TourX discountimg is more than Corey paid for his Outback. Not to say TourX will outlast the XF SB but Audi is turning out the wagons along Volvo have v60/90.

    • 0 avatar
      VelocityRed3

      We’re in the same boat. My wife just bought a 2016 XF sedan for 17& a half grand. It’s CPO so she has almost 3 years of warranty left. The manager chased her out the door offering an extra two grand of trade-in money. I knew jags were not selling that well, but this story really explains why she got such a good deal. She also just became an adjunct professor too!

  • avatar
    ajla

    Just get rid of the cars. They aren’t that good anyway. Put a Jaguar mask on the Range Rover (R-Pace) and then continue selling the F-Pace, Sportage Brougham, and Caliber BEV to the utility-loving public. There. I saved the brand.

    If they want a sports car to replace the F-Type then team up with Alfa or Proton or whoever also wants one but can’t justify full development costs.

    • 0 avatar
      Tstag

      I think the XJ may actually be OK if it goes electric. Look at the Tesla model S that sells. I think Jag might at a push extend that sucess to an electric XF. As for the F type I think Jaguar need to copy Porsche’s model.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Sportbrake? I never understood that name for a car.
    How about Sportburn. Sportcrash. Sportfix.
    Fun in cars means to go, not brake. Analogous to Frigidchick, or something to describe one’s girlfriend?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      It’s a combo of “Sportback” and “Shootingbrake” (I think?)

      If I keep a shotgun in a TourX does that make it a Shootingbrake? Or do I have to strap a deer to the roof rack?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        It is my belief that when used in regards to an auto that a ‘shooting brake’ should be specific to a 2 door wagon style like the Type III and Type IV VW and not to this Jaguar. Whereas an ‘estate car’ is any type of wagon style auto and therefore the correct term for this Jag is actually ‘estate car’.

        From Wikipedia:
        “Shooting-brake is a term for car body style which originated in the 1890s as a horse-drawn wagon used to transport shooting parties with their equipment and game.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Watch until the end for the definition.

        https://youtu.be/sfRYFZHOk4M

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      They’re all station wagons, but that’s not a cool term, so we had to call them something else.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I am enamoured of the fact that Jaguar exists, and to a lesser degree Alfa/Maseratti, if at least, as a partial alternative to the German brands.

    However like Principal Dan, I am currently of no assistance to them. :-(

    Unfortunately their cars have largely lost what made them somewhat unique. And no I am not talking about their lack of reliability. Rather the rich wood, leather and lambswool that created the ‘grace’ part of their package.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Alas, it would seem that Chinese industrial sweatshops have taken the glamour, the part expense, and thus the exclusivity out of equipping such uncommon vehicles like Jags with labor intensive “rich wood, leather and lambswool,” not to mention fishteeth switchgear.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      As an Alfa driver, I have to say I find the driving experience to be completely unique compared to any other sedan I’ve driven in the last decade.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    If they were going to go to the trouble to bring the wagon over here, it seems like a mistake never to offer it with the supercharged V8. The only people who were going to buy it are crazy enthusiasts who aren’t interested in 2.0T engines anyways.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    If they made reliable cars with a unique style that were works of art, all their problems go away. If I could afford one, I would not buy one as much as I like station wagons.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Raise the wagon 2-in on it’s suspension, add cheap-ass grey plastic wheel-opening moldings and you wont be able to keep them on the shelf. People are now fully brainwashed to see that fender-gap and cheap plastic and lose their damn minds over that crap.

  • avatar
    Terry

    Yeah…it’s all crap until you spend time on one. Noticing that you can actually carry things in it you couldnt otherwise, ease of entry/exit, commanding view of the road. Yeah, it’s all bad.
    50,000 ants at a picnic cant all be wrong…

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Jaguar has been a money pit for many decades.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      I’m sure if someone went back and added up all of Jaguar’s annual profits and losses since its inception you’d end up with a negative number.

      I’d also bet that the only one who ever actually made money with Jaguar was Sir William Lyons who founded the company, for everyone else its been a money pit.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    My local dealer has 2 very nice-looking XF Sportsbrakes. Both AWD, one white and one black. Both sticker for about $73,000. This is a lot of money.

    However, the dealer will sell you either one for $59,000. This is still a lot of money. But it seems a lot more in line with what the market would bear.

    To me, the XF was never all that exciting. It’s not all that Jaguar-y. The Sportsbrake is the most appealing version of it. But the product just never lit the market on fire.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    “I don’t want to say the speed of change took us by surprise, but they were too quick for us to react to immediately.”

    Is Eberhardt talking about the speed that the market transitioned to crossovers? Because like it or not, if they didn’t see the writing on the wall the moment Porsche released the Cayenne (over a decade before the F-Pace), or BMW brought out the X5, or even the original Benz ML, that’s on them.

    I also think they’ve fallen into a similar trap as Cadillac, where to move away from their heritage (which largely connected with an older buyer base), they’ve started making knockoff BMW’s (stern, austere drivers cars) even as BMW’s giving that up, and don’t seem to know how to appeal to a younger buyer base (while alienating older buyers as well). Not sure I know the answer to that – I’d say with electrification, building a luxury EV with better interior components than a 20-year old GM (looking at you Tesla) could be a way forward, but it’s not as if Jag’s ever had incredible interiors (they just used to offer mediocre interiors draped in great wood and leather before switching to the black leather and silver plastics of Sie Deutsch).

  • avatar
    jkross22

    If you sit in all of the Jaguar cars and SUVs today, the only one that feels kind of special is the XJ. Ok maybe the F-Type, too. The others are good cars and SUVs, but they seem like riffs on other cars rather than Jags.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    I actually shopped these recently. In February leftover 18s had about 15K on the hood but zero lease support. The best I was offered was $999 / mo for 48 months + tax title, fees etc. 50K to lease a car for 4 years which you could buy for 55K outright. Crazy.

    Something happened this month — three dealers reached out on Feb 28th / March 1st. Deals look better.

    • 0 avatar
      VelocityRed3

      My wife bought her XF on Friday March 1st & the loan paperwork, from the bank, is dated as such. However when we get home, the sales contract was dated February 28th. They are definitely trying to move (at least some of) the product.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    They could start by building cars with some headroom.

  • avatar
    Raevoxx

    I’ve never considered a Jag, until the amount of times they seem to have been brought up, lately.

    There’s a number of XE and XF sedans where I work. Usually all in white. I hardly noticed, until I made it a point to look for them.

    Perhaps therein lies the problem; too boring and plain looking for me. Especially the front end; it looks darn near anodyne.

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    For a while it looked like Ford made a big mistake by letting go of Jaguar. Apparently they made the right decision as Jaguar isn’t going to survive for long. While it’s line up of vehicle is stylish and has decent performance, it’s reliability ,interior quality, and information systems are very lacking. This leads to poor sales and resale values. There is on way that Tata can invest enough money to keep Jaguar competitive with the Germans, Japanese, or Korean brands.


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