In early 2011, we reported
on Jaguar's plans to bring a small sedan to directly target the 3 Series. Jaguar feels a need for different and lower priced models. "We need to play in that world," said Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's global brand director. Jaguar needs a small sports car for image and a sedan for volume, he said. "We have to do both. Whether we do one, two or three body styles, we can still decide. But we have to be in the lower price."
The last time Jaguar introduced a smaller sedan with lower pricing to take on the 3-series was with the Ford Mondeo based X-type, which had little success in the competitive compact sports sedan segment.
In an interview with Autocar
, Hallmark has now provided more details and plans for the upcoming Jaguar sedan.
Jaguar realizes the difficulty in entering the ultra competitive small luxury sports sedan space, currently dominated by the 3 Series, C Class and A4. Although targeting the 3-series would be an expected move for the new small Jaguar, Hallmark said the company wouldn’t be taking the most obvious route. “The 3-series is an easy simile for where we could go, but it’s not the only gig in town,” Hallmark says. “All the cars are good in that segment. All have the blend of performance and efficiency, as well as very sophisticated equipment.
“I think Jaguar has to do something different. The challenge is to do this across a whole range of vehicles. Some our rivals have four-door coupés, which we’d love to see. The Mercedes CLA could be a template for a smaller Jaguar, but that’s not what we’d do,” Callum concluded. “Jaguars have a rational, pragmatic set of values. They are styled a bit differently but need to be conventional enough to be usable." “It’s Jaguar’s turn [after Land Rover] to grow next. We will grow and could become formidable if all goes well and we get the planning done properly.” “A Jaguar needs to work as a Jaguar, with a set of components to match our mould,” Callum said.
“It took Audi 20 years to build up to where it is,” Hallmark adds. “For us to come in and go to the top of the league is impossible, so we have to find ways of expanding our business profitably and we’re well developed in that process. We are undergoing creative analysis of competitors and consumers.”
“Trying to find a gap to exploit is a real challenge. Nobody is waiting for another competitor to enter a segment. For us to enter… we have to have a winning proposition. It has to have a twist, something relevant to the consumer. But the Jaguar brand should define everything.” “All makers in that segment have a successful strategy of different versions: coupés, cabrios, estates, engines. You have to be flexible in that segment.”
PLA Platform, Aluminum Construction, RWD
The upcoming Jaguar sedan is said to be built of lightweight aluminum construction. The world is downsizing in many areas,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar’s current chief of design. “I think downsizing can only go so far. Then it comes down to the efficiency of the vehicle. Mass, rather than size, is something we have a big lead on with our aluminum construction. Downsizing is not off our radar and we have to take it seriously. But we’ve got the head start on mass.”
It will be built on Jaguar's latest modular "PLA" (Premium Lightweight Architecture) platform. This platform underpins the next generation XF and XJ models, as well as serving the current fourth gen Range Rover.
As for the drivetrain, the Jaguar sports sedan will be rear-wheel-driven. Hallmark said that although the PLA platform can be spun into a front-wheel drive format, Jaguar did not have a front-drive car planned for the 3 Series rivaling sedan.
He also hinted that the new model would expand into a full line-up of body styles. “All makers in that segment have a successful strategy of different versions: coupés, cabrios, estates, engines. You have to be flexible in that segment.”
No exact timing was given yet on this junior Jaguar, but the company is said to be close to giving the green light on the range of compact and lightweight rear-drive models.
* The image used above is just a speculative render, via Autocar