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by Matt Campbell

Jaguar has taken a swipe at the German performance car establishment, claiming that it aims to become the “world’s performance car brand of choice”.

That bold assertion came at the preview launch of the new Jaguar XF sedan at the 2015 New York auto show overnight, and CarAdvice spoke with the British brand’s global brand director, Steven De Ploey, to see what it means for buyers.

“Clearly … we aren’t yet,” De Ploey said of the claim the brand is already the world’s performance car brand of choice.

“We’re not going to make that statement. The vision, if you want, for the company and for the brand is to become the performance brand of choice,” he said, referencing rival marques such as BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

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“What does that concretely mean? First and foremost in terms of product we want to be perceived by you guys – primarily, if you want, in the media – but also by our customers as the brand that delivers the best driving experience from a ride and handling point of view, from a performance delivery point of view. It’s where we really want to stand out.

“Second of all, from a brand point of view – and this is maybe more of an internal measure, when we do the measurements of how people perceive, not necessarily having driven our cars – which do they feel is the most performance brand from a sporty point of view? Is Jaguar top of mind?” he said.

“Currently we’re not miles away from that one,” De Ploey claimed.

“Obviously in sales there’s something called BMW, there’s actually something called Porsche – but from an image point of view we’re just trailing just behind those two,” he said.

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“But we’re making big strides moving forward in that area, and therefore with the cars we’re bringing [which are] more and more centred on the F-Type recipe, our vision is to increasingly zoom in [on performance].

“The vision is not just to sell two million cars – that’s not an ambition in itself. It’s really to be a lot more focused in terms of the proposition on performance.”

De Ploey indicated that Porsche is the pre-eminent post by which all its efforts are measured, and it will continue to be for new models in the pipeline, too, including the upcoming F-Pace crossover which will be revealed at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show in September.

“If you think about the new F-Pace, Macan is the benchmark that we’re going against,” he said.

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“And when you are testing that car, you should feel that from a performance point of view – ride and handling, technology – the car is at least on par with that vehicle,” he said of the parallels between the upcoming F-Pace and the highly successful Macan.

“But because of the superior nature of the design of the [F-Pace], the appeal, the fit and finish, the craftsmanship – the sum of it, we always say P and S (performance and seduction) is greater than the P you’re getting basically from Porsche, or BMW, or whoever is in that segment,” he said.

“That’s the ambition that we have with every other car we’re bringing,” De Ploey said.

Tell us what you think – is Jaguar on the same level as Porsche in terms of performance credentials? Have your say in the comments section below.




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