Jaguar has hinted that its forthcoming premium mid-sized sedan will be joined by a family of body styles as it looks to take the fight up to the BMW 3 Series.
Asked if the C/D-segment sedan – confirmed for production in 2015 at this week's Frankfurt motor show – would be the end for the upcoming nameplate, Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark replied: “No, it’s the start, and we can’t tell you any more”.
While not intending to rival BMW for variety – its mid-sized range comprises the 3 Series sedan and wagon, as well as the upcoming 4 Series coupe, convertible and Gran Turismo – Hallmark acknowledges the importance of diversifying the brand’s product offering.
“We can’t confirm exactly which body styles… but you’re absolutely right, nobody does it with one body alone,” he said.
Jaguar design director Ian Callum says the brand is “looking at a whole family of opportunity” for vehicles based on the mid-sized sedan and its all-new aluminium ‘iQ[Al]’ architecture.
“You will have to wait and see really, I can’t tell you,” Callum teased.
“The C/D [sedan] is there, it’s established. We’re pretty well close to its final iterations.
“We’ve got other things to look at, whether there’s a wagon version, whether there’s a crossover version, whether there’s a bigger car or a smaller car, all that stuff still has to come to the focus.
“The nice thing is we have choices now, which we’ve never had before.”
While a wagon version may seem the obvious next step, Callum – who also sits on the executive board at Jaguar Land Rover – says the decision is not as simple as it may seem.
“The wagon is an interesting business case,” he said. “When you start to analyse it, it becomes rather marginal.
“And then you think, what’s the footprint for [a crossover] as opposed to a wagon? It’s probably four or five times more, so you have to have that debate – although a wagon investment is probably a third of the investment that [a crossover] is, so it’s a difficult call.
“[For] BMW, Audi, [it’s a] no-brainer. The biggest market in the world for wagons is Germany. It all becomes rather complicated. Not to say that there isn’t a market there, it’s just not that clear cut.”
Hallmark says the decision to build the sedan first, before a crossover or any other body style, was simply based on the demands of the global market.
“It’s the biggest sub-segment in the world in the premium sector, so although crossovers and SUVs are very interesting, the sedan segment is the biggest in the world,” he said.
“If we can get our costs and our differentiation product-wise, technology-wise, right in that segment, that gives us a basis for everything else we do.
“The potential of that car per year is bigger than Jaguar’s global sales last year. So in terms of transforming Jaguar, it may not be 1.5 million BMWs, but for Jaguar this is a big gig.”
Asked about the design of the new sedan, Callum hinted that it would resemble a ‘baby XF’.
“You’ll recognise it,” he said.
“We’re not going to revolutionise our design language at the moment because our main objective is to get numbers out there.
“We’re still a fairly unknown quantity so we need to get our momentum and scale.
“This is not the right time to reinvent the face of Jag. We have a face developing and I want people to recognise it more and more. Perhaps once we’ve got a whole family out there we can start to evolve it into the next generation.”
Another piece of the puzzle that still remains a mystery is what the new model will be called.
Declining to confirm the heavily rumoured ‘XS’ nameplate, Hallmark said Jaguar planned to simplify its naming structure with the launch of the new sedan.
“People that aren’t into Jaguar, they find our nameplates a bit confusing,” he said.
“They can’t remember which way around XF and XJ is, or XK, is that bigger or smaller, more expensive or less expensive…
“So we will use our model expansion as an opportunity to tidy up the name and make it really clear. F-Type and ‘something’-Type we will use for sports cars, but whatever else we do we haven’t determined yet.”