The British carmaker spoke to us about its big EV plans.
Sales of the Jaguar F-Type have been relatively steady since the car went on the market in 2013. Jaguar sold 4,629 F-Types at the car's peak in 2015 but as of last year, sales have dropped down to around 2,220 per year. This is to be expected of any car as it reaches a certain age but Jaguar has now attempted to revitalize its flagship sports car with a 2021 facelift. The 2021 F-Type was on display at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show and we had a chance to speak with Rob Filipovic, Product Planning Director of Jaguar Land Rover North America about the company's recent and future evolution.
Speaking about the F-Type facelift, Filipovic says, "knowing the market, the segment, the customers, it's one that's super sensitive to making sure you've always got a fresh look and some key updates." This is by far the most significant update we have seen on the F-Type to-date and Jaguar feels confident that it can continue to sell a sports car even in today's SUV-driven market.
In regards to F-Type sales, Filipovic says "They've been very strong. They've come down as the vehicle has gotten older and I think the whole sports car market has contracted a little bit. But for us, we're very happy with the sales. It's our first generation of a sports car since the E-Type. It's exciting because, with F-Type, I think if you look at the sales results, there's only a handful of cars that outsell it within the US - 911, 718, and Corvette. For us, that's pretty good company to be in."
Filipovic wouldn't reveal any details about the next-generation F-Type but did note how electrification will play a major role in the Jaguar brand moving forward. "The customers are loving it," Filipovic says of the Jaguar I-Pace. "And on that basis, everyone's very curious about what's coming next. Obviously, we said the XJ next generation will be EV, so that's a big exciting one. We're getting ready for now. And then from there, it's how do we expand the lineup further based on the types of vehicles that people want to be electrified?"
We don't know exactly when the electric XJ is set to be revealed but if it arrives soon, it will be the perfect competitor for electric luxury models like the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S. Rumors say the new XJ could produce over 800 horsepower using twice the amount of electric motors found in the I-Pace. The car will be built on JLR's new MLA platform, which has been designed to also accept an internal combustion engine. But before you get excited about the prospect of a new supercharged XJR, Filipovic says, "we've been firm that it is the all-electric XJ."
So if you were holding out hope that Jaguar would sell a gas-powered XJ alongside the EV model, we're sorry to disappoint you. But if the XJ ends up producing around 800 hp, we'll be willing to forgive the lack of a V8. As for when Jaguar will reveal this highly-anticipated XJ, Filipovic says, "you've got to stay tuned."
When the XJ does arrive, we expect it to include a number of improvements in battery technology. "It will continue to evolve in terms of software, hardware, and battery technology," says Filipovic. "Even with the current I-Pace, within the last two months, we pushed out a software update for the battery management system that unlocks roughly an extra 12 miles of real-world range."
"We're never going to settle with it as-is, Filipovic explains. "How do we continually improve it? What new hardware is available that we can leverage? What can we learn from our EV racing program about battery management and power delivery?" Jaguar will continue to improve its EV technology and by the time the XJ arrives, we believe Porsche and Tesla will have some serious competition.