There was simply no choice.
Jaguar secured a $705 million loan last month from Chinese lenders as part of a broader effort to keep the lights on following huge losses that resulted in layoffs. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic made a bad situation even worse. Although the loan will provide a collective sigh of relief to JLR for the time being, not everything is returning to normal.
According to a report from The Times, the upcoming next-generation Jaguar XJ is being delayed, as are a number of other new unnamed models. The new XJ, originally due to begin production early next year at JLR's Castle Bromwich plant, is now being pushed back to October 2021. This doesn't come as a big surprise because this factory, currently home to the slow-selling Jaguar XE and XF sedans, has been idled and its workforce furloughed because of slumping sales and the pandemic.
But unlike any previous XJ, this one is going to be an all-electric, ultra-luxurious competitor to the Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan, and also upcoming Audi e-tron GT. The latter was initially set to debut this November at the LA Auto Show but that event is unlikely to take place so an online reveal will happen instead.
As for the next XJ, Jaguar has yet to officially confirm the report or make its own announcement but company sources claim this is nothing more than a temporary halt of one of its most iconic models. Jaguar has remained mostly silent regarding details of the next-gen XJ though the company's design boss, Julian Thompson, recently acknowledged that "It's a stunning car… and we're all very, very pleased with it. It's a very different product, but a refreshing product, in that way. It's not a traditional business sedan."
What Thompson was referring to regarding the "not traditional" aspect is that the new XJ won't have a typical three-box sedan design, but rather a sleeker four-door coupe appearance similar to that of the outgoing model. Jaguar is doubtless taking some chances with this latest design in order to reflect its battery-electric powertrain.
We've seen a few XJ spy shots that give weight to Thompson's words. Despite the delays, the next Jaguar XJ flagship will still happen, but we'll just have to wait a bit longer for a production start date.