Jaguar design director Ian Callum has created an entire family of vehicles based on the new Jaguar XE in the hope that the range will expand beyond the original sedan.
“Put it this way: I know what a wagon would look like, I know what a coupe would look like … and I know what a long-wheelbase would look like,” Callum said at the Paris motor show.
He also grinned and suggested, “Might do”, when asked by CarAdvice if he knew what a convertible XE would look like, before conceding that there was a big difference between simply designing a car and developing a viable global business plan to put it into production.
“I know what these things look like,” he reiterated. “Are they coming along? I can’t tell you that.
“What you’ve got to appreciate is that our volume is a lot less than a BMW 3 Series or a [Mercedes-Benz] C-Class – a lot less. So trying to get to the business case of a proportion of that including sales you steal off the main car, it becomes a very difficult business case.
“I’m not saying it’s impossible. Until you’ve got the bravery to get to that sufficient number, it’s very difficult. You’ve got to believe you can sell 25,000 coupes.”
Callum did, however, agree with the assertion that Jaguar would be crazy not to do more with the XE after investing 1.5 billion pounds in the development of its iQ[Al] aluminium architecture alone.
Jaguar last month confirmed the XE sedan would be joined by a production version of the C-X17 SUV concept, which shares the same platform.
In September, Jaguar XE chief program engineer Nick Miller told CarAdvice the body shop at the XE’s production plant in Solihull in the UK had been “equipped to be flexible”.
“We can put more than one body style in it,” Miller said. “It’s not a problem. All the kit is there.
“We’ve equipped the shop to be able to do it, and in the future we’ll be able to show you other products off this architecture.”
In their current generations, the Jaguar XE’s German rivals – Audi A4/A5, 3 Series/4 Series, C-Class – are either available or will be available globally in four body styles: sedan, wagon, coupe and convertible, and each also makes a mid-sized SUV.
Smaller-scale rival Volvo offers the S60 sedan, V60 wagon and XC60 crossover, while Lexus makes the IS sedan, RC coupe and NX SUV.
One body style that Callum did rule out was a Mercedes-Benz CLA/CLS-style ‘four-door coupe’ based on the XE.
“It kind of is unlikely because we’re already kind of there in a way,” he acknowledged.
“I think the essence Jag is that it already needs to be in that category.”