Here's how the brand's boss wants things to go.
When you think of stable, profitable, and adored car brands, Jaguar is nowhere near the top. Despite its best efforts, the brand has been rather confused about what its own purpose is. Fortunately, Thierry Bollore arrived in July last year and immediately saw the need for changes. Build quality has been sub-par, to say the least, and the brand's design future has seemed uncertain. Bollore has been working to address these issues and, in an interview with Autocar, outlined his plans for Jaguar moving forward. Although it's tough to tell how exactly these plans will be implemented, they sound pretty smart.
We know that Jag is going to be an all-electric carmaker by the middle of the decade, but these new EVs are not going to be anything like the current range. Instead, Bollore wants to build a "family" of more upmarket Jaguars that are positioned in their own unique niches. If you're thinking about how that didn't work so well for Mercedes, we understand your concern.
However, what will make this creation of entirely new models work is that these offerings won't be rivals to other models that Jaguar Land Rover already sells, including various Range Rover vehicles. While Bollore has commented many times on the success of the Range Rover business model, the plan for Jaguar is to come up with "distinct cars with no overlap." Basically, Bollore wants to continue updating current models until the end of their respective life cycles and then start afresh, with a brand-new design and philosophy.
These cars will be "really modern luxury cars that are the copy of nothing in style or design, the top of technology and refinement, but not looking backwards" (sic). So don't expect future Jag models to feature many retro styling elements, then. Jaguar's cars are to be unique in their shape, footprint, and stance. The reason for this is that the brands that Bollore calls "the originals" - BMW, Merc, Audi - are never going to be wanted less than a Jag. To steal sales from those German rivals, Jaguar needs to create its own segments. It needs to offer something totally new because the current XF, for example, is a car that buyers rarely choose above a 5 Series, E-Class, or A6, and who can blame them?
On the road to achieving that, JLR's chief creative officer, Gerry McGovern, arranged a design contest within the brand's newly consolidated design team to stimulate inspiration for future Jags. As a result, just three months after the contest began, Jaguar had created designs and models that would normally take 18 months. Thus, Jaguar's future design language has finally been decided upon, although we get no hints of what to expect.
With that in mind, the next Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV will be "permanently and significantly updated". Perhaps the name will remain, but it won't be anything like the current model. Essentially, Bollore wants Jaguar to play to its own strengths rather than try to compete with those who can't be beaten. It sounds like a difficult road ahead for Jaguar, but Bollore seems to know exactly what the destination is. Here's hoping he gets there.