Small up-market cars - have Jaguar missed a trick ?

Fraser

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As we all know, the world and his uncle are all buying double-decker buses (aka SUVs), and the market for up-market/luxury saloons is disappearing. Yet everywhere I go I see small Mercedes, BMW, and Audi cars. They are everywhere ! There is the Mercedes A and B class, the BMW 1 and 2, and the Audi 1 and 3. All of these cars are hatchbacks and seem to be selling like hot cakes. Yet Jaguar is not present in this market.

In addition, small SUVs are popular even if they may be useless off-road, as this SUV thing is very much fashion driven. The last small SUV from Land Rover was the Freelander. The current Freelander 2 seems much larger, and getting on for a Discovery.

The smallest Jaguar is the XE, which is in the BMW 3-series/Audi A4/Mercedes-Benz C-class market. So a large market has been left to the Germans to exploit.

It does seem to me that Jaguar have missed a trick here.
 

yorkie

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Hi Fraser - I completely agree with you, Now in my dotage I would love to have a small jaguar similar in size to an Audi A3 etc that would be economical to run and easy to park but with the look and feel of a Jaguar. I have owned and run a number of Jags including Xj's, S Types, an X Type and an XF and have loved them all for their traditional looks and luxury feel. Now in retirement I do need a smaller car for shopping and local needs and don't laugh but I recently bought a Fiat 500L Trecking for these duties but still keep my old S Type for longer journeys where the added comfort and performance is still much appreciated.
 

Neilr

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The main problem is that small cars are not that much cheaper to make than big cars but sell for a lot less. Jaguar barely has the volume to make a profit on large cars so making a small car as well would just be too expensive and wouldn't return enough of a profit to warrant the investment. They could borrow a platform from a more mainstream partner but then people would just say it was not a true Jaguar. Just look at Infinity with their Q30. At least it was based on a "premium" manufacturer's platform but why not just buy the original A Class. Most people did.
 

Fraser

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The main problem is that small cars are not that much cheaper to make than big cars but sell for a lot less. Jaguar barely has the volume to make a profit on large cars so making a small car as well would just be too expensive and wouldn't return enough of a profit to warrant the investment. They could borrow a platform from a more mainstream partner but then people would just say it was not a true Jaguar. Just look at Infinity with their Q30. At least it was based on a "premium" manufacturer's platform but why not just buy the original A Class. Most people did.

What you say is mostly true, but if that is the case, why are all three German manufacturers making and selling these small cars ? Are they stupid ? I don't think so.

Jaguar are in the position that their current low sales volume means there are no savings on the cost of components due to the low volume. If the components used in the XE were used in a new smaller hatchback Jaguar, benefits of volume would then flow through. When Jaguar started with saloons in the 30s, the profit was made on the 2.5 and 3.5 litre cars, yet the 1.5 litre car sold the most and whilst not hugely profitable, used the same parts as the larger-engined cars thus giving volume and lower unit costs.
 

Neilr

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What you say is mostly true, but if that is the case, why are all three German manufacturers making and selling these small cars ? Are they stupid ? I don't think so.

No they are not but VW Audi already have cheaper platforms. An Audi A1 is nothing more than a VW Polo with some nice trim and some horrible cheap plastics. Merc and BMW are massive compared to Jaguar and their smaller cars share the a Mini platform, already a bulk model. Mercedes is a giant in the premium sector 2.3 million in 2018 as opposed to 100,000 for Jaguar? They are more profitable and have the resources to also go down-market.

If Jaguar were to try and make a smaller, cheaper car on the basis of the XE, which is an expensive to produce platform, that car would be uncompetitive. Jaguar are simply too small to be able to do a small car and make a profit on it.
 

oscarsmate

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Jaguar are going down the hybrid suv route with the f-pace.

More logical would be to go full electric city car Which would tick a lot of boxes. I can see them doing a joint venture which seems the way of the world.
 

thebiglad

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Whether we like it or not full electric would be the way to go, for a small Jaguar. Easier and cheaper to make, little or no pollution in cities which is where most people live and suffer health problems polluted air and where legislation will hit hardest.

I suspect that in less than 10 yrs time all new cars will have some form of electric propulsion - either 100% electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid.

Dave
 

Fraser

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Isn't the XE or E-Pace supposed to be the small car?
Well, I suppose the answer is yes, but small in relation to the rest of the range.
They are not small cars per se. Jaguar have no car with a rear hatch, this forcing those who want to carry loads higher than the boot aperture to buy an SUV or a hatchback. Yet both the XE and XF look the ideal shape for a hatchback rear. Of course this would need quite major work at the rear to replace the boot roof as that will contribute quite a lot of strength into the body shell. Better this than trying to sell the tourer version of the XF, (no tourer version of the XE). Everywhere you look you see Mercedes, BMW, and Audi hatchback saloons so clearly there is a market for them. Of course it would only be viable if the hatchback version used most of the parts of the contributor saloons.
 
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