Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has back-flipped on an initial decision to reject the Jaguar XF Sportbrake for the Australian market.
JLR Asia Pacific managing director David Blackhall said that the original decision to not introduce the wagon version of the Jaguar XF sedan here was reversed because, although the market for large wagons in this country is small, the XF Sportbrake would be an important image leader for the brand.
“We are going to bring it,” Blackhall confirmed.
“We’ll have a couple [of XF Sportbrakes] here later in the year to support some promotional activity we’ll be doing, and we’ll bring a limited number in next year.
“We think it’s important from an image point of view … to show the development and growth of the Jaguar brand.”
Blackhall also confirmed that the rejection of the XF Sportbrake for our market was only partially due to small wagon sales, citing this country’s unique Australian Design Rules (ADR) as playing a big part in the original decision.
“One of the little issues we’re working on with our federal colleagues in Canberra is the lack of alignment on design requirements across the globe,” he tells.
“It’s little known, but Australia has a unique tethering system for child restraints in wagons, and we’ve got to get that engineered into the vehicle.
“From a pure business case, from the numbers [low volume], you’d probably say ‘yeah, why would you [re-engineer the seat]?’ But I think from a brand perspective it’s important to support the brand in that way.”
Jaguar global director Adrian Hallmark – who is in Australia for a JLR conference hosting dealers from around the Asia Pacific area – described the XF Sportbrake as part of the renaissance of the Jaguar brand, and a key volume contributor in Europe.
“For Australia [XF Sportbrake] isn’t going to be the biggest seller,” Hallmark quipped.
“The estate market isn’t significant in the Australian car market, but for Europe it is.
“Fifty per cent of premium sales in that segment in Germany are estate cars.
“In the UK it’s over 25 per cent”.
Pricing and specifications for the Jaguar XF Sportbrake will be released closer to its Australian on-sale date early next year.