Jaguar's design director describes the overcrowded wagon segment in Europe as "vicious."
As wagons become a dying breed while crossovers and SUVs continue to dominate the market, the unveiling of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake came as a pleasant surprise – particularly after Jaguar claimed it was abandoning the wagon segment for good. Thankfully, the British automaker had a change of heart. Combining the sporty looks and performance of the XF sedan with the practicality afforded by a shooting brake’s larger trunk, we were hoping the new XF Sportbrake would signal the start of a new range of Jaguar shooting brakes.
After all, Jaguar launched a sporty XFR-S Sportbrake before, so a new XKF-S or even a hardcore SVR Jaguar shooting brake didn't seem too far fetched. However, in an interview with Autocar Jaguar’s design director Ian Callum has conceded that the wagon market is “clearly quite challenging” which makes the XF Sportback a “very difficult business case” despite its appealing design and modern technologies. Because of these challenges, Callum has ruled out any possibility of the compact XE sedan also getting the Sportbrake treatment in-line with its bigger XF brother. “The Sportbrake market is fairly static,” Callum admitted.
“From a business point of view, an XE Sportbrake is not an easy car to make happen. And it would be very challenging pricing for an XE [version].” It’s disappointing, but undoubtedly the right decision from a business standpoint. “That market is vicious,” said Callum, referring to Jaguar’s German wagon rivals like the BMW 3 Series Touring and Audi A4 Avant that make up the crowded premium wagon segment in Europe. Instead, Jaguar is wisely capitalizing on the unrelenting demand for SUVs, which is why the automaker recently introduced the compact E-Pace to its growing crossover family, that Callum believes is “changing the landscape completely.”
Is there room for a third model in Jaguar’s growing SUV line-up? Perhaps, but Callum isn’t ready to discuss that possibility just yet. If such a model is in the pipeline, it would have a unique style to distinguish it from the F-Pace and E-Pace according to the design director.