Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark admits the brand risks losing relevance in the luxury segment if it does not expand its portfolio with new vehicle types.
“Even though within the [Jaguar Land Rover] family there are six world-class SUVs with absolutely different characters and functions, there’s also two consumer brands, Jaguar and Land Rover, and for Jaguar to be relevant and salient on a global basis, it’s not a Land Rover, it’s a Jaguar, and it needs more than just a sports car and a sedan,” Hallmark said.
He says a Jaguar crossover has the potential to boost the brand’s global footprint more than any other vehicle it could make.
“This car would – more than anything else we could do – get us into China, get us into Russia, into South America, in a way that with a sedan you just can’t do,” he said.
“It definitely helps us with our global footprint, it would do no damage at all in Australia, it certainly wouldn’t do any harm in European markets because the SUV and crossover segments are in high growth mode.
“And it give Jaguar a balance. It makes it more visible, more aspirational for younger and more female buyers in more global markets, so for us it’s really, really important.”
The man responsible for the C-X17 concept, Jaguar design director Ian Callum, says he wants the brand to build a crossover and says the world wants Jaguar to build one too.
“Yes I would [like to see Jaguar build a crossover],” Calum said. “That’s a very personal, subjective opinion. Of course I would.
“I know the world wants this. Not this one [the C-X17 concept], but cars like this, we’ve found that out.”
Hallmark says Jaguar’s research into the crossover segment confirmed that the C-X17 concept was the optimum size for its intended customer base.
“In our testing we’ve looked for a sweet spot that’s big enough to attract the bigger SUV and crossover buyers and compact enough to not put people off, because there is a bit of a problem with bigger SUVs for some people,” Hallmark revealed.
“We think it’s the right size, and when you look at it versus the competition, [BMW] X3 to X5, or [Audi] Q5 to Q7, it’s quite interesting there especially when you think what we could do on pricing.”
At 4718mm long, 1959mm wide, 1649mm tall and riding on a 2905mm wheelbase, the Jaguar C-X17 concept sits between the smaller Audi Q5 and BMW X3 and larger Q7 and X5, and has a lower roofline than all four.
In another acknowledgement of its production intent, Hallmark confirmed only three aspects of the C-X17 would need to be changed to transform it from a concept to a road-legal reality.
“We’ve done it with integrity, which means … the only things that are illegal or not proven are the door mirrors, because they’re too small, they wouldn’t meet any standard; the fog lights in the air vents front and rear, because there’s no technology that would deliver them at the intensity that would be required, although they look fantastic; and the seats wouldn’t pass any crash test, they’re too thin.
“Apart from that, the physical object is do-able.”
While it seems certain to launch early in the second half of the decade following the introduction of the new C/D sedan, Hallmark stuck to the company line when asked directly if Jaguar was going to build its first-ever crossover.
“We’d love to do it,” he said, “but we can’t confirm it yet.”