Jaguar North America will take a new value-oriented pricing approach in the U.S. beginning with the ’16 model year, moving the cost of its vehicles closer to the heart of the segments it competes in after years of occupying the heights of the luxury market.
Next year’s introduction of two all-new compact products, the ’17 XE sedan and F-Pace CUV, and a refresh of the brand’s three existing models will usher the pricing strategy to market. A new marketing push and customer-care program will accompany the pricing reboot.
Unlike leading luxury brands selling up to 20 times the vehicles Jaguar does in the U.S., the British brand faces a steep growth curve because its car-centric portfolio does not meet the demands of buyers craving CUVs and SUVs. A slowdown in the Chinese market also places more emphasis on the automaker expanding sales volumes in the U.S. In addition, onetime sleepy luxury brands Lincoln and Cadillac are showing renewed vigor, further threating Jaguar’s position.
Slashing prices and jumping to the growing end of the luxury car market with youthful products quickly answers those challenges for the region’s 16th-ranked seller.
“We’ve offered only larger products and then we’ve often priced them at, or near, the top of their individual segments,” says Rob Filipovic, general manager-product planning at Jaguar North America. “However, with these new products, we’re no longer wanting to be a high-priced outlier in the luxury market.
“We have greater ambitions to be a more attainable luxury brand while maintaining an elevated position by virtue of our exceptional performance and design,” Filipovic says in a webcast from New York outlining the plan. “The result will be a far more competitive Jaguar portfolio.”
Jaguar sales have been smarting from the shift to CUVs and SUVs, spurred by a growing U.S. economy, easy credit and relatively low fuel prices. Last year, Jaguar sold 15,773 vehicles in the U.S., a 7% drop from 2013, according to WardsAuto data. So far this year, the brand’s deliveries are off 4.4% to 10,221.
The XE and F-Pace compacts lead the move down market by entering the fastest-growing luxury segment and will have prices putting the vehicles in the middle of their competition. The 3-model XE range will start at $34,900 and run to $41,900.
The XE boasts three powertrain choices, a pair of 2.0L 4-cyl. engines for gasoline or diesel and a range-topping 3.0L supercharged V-6. The car introduces a new Jaguar design philosophy, as well, and company executives promise exhilarating driving dynamics.
“It will be a new entry point for thousands of Jaguar customers,” Filipovic says.
F-Pace pricing will not be revealed until the Frankfurt auto show later this month, although it will follow the same “heart-of-the-segment” philosophy. The CUV bows in the U.S. at the Los Angeles auto show in November.
The value proposition of existing products also will improve, the automaker says. Starting with the ’16 model year, Jaguar will lower the sticker price or add more standard equipment to the XF, XJ and F-Type ranges.
The second-generation XF will start at $51,900, a 9% reduction in its MSRP compared with the ’15 model. The XF S will start at $62,700, while a diesel variant will bring initial pricing for the large sedan under $50,000.
Standard pricing for the XJ, which receives exterior and interior styling and content updates for ’16, will remain static at $74,400. However, the standard- and long-wheelbase versions of the car will add $7,000 in standard equipment to make it the least expensive in its segment next to the Lexus LS460.
The ’16 F-Type will add $11,850 worth of standard equipment to starting prices of $65,500 for the coupe with a manual transmission and $68,100 for a convertible with a manual.
A new customer-care program called Jaguar Elite accompanies the automaker’s new go-to-market strategy. The fully transferrable program offers five years, or up to 60,000 miles (97,000 km), of coverage including free maintenance, a bumper-to-bumper warranty, roadside assistance and Jaguar’s suite of safety and security technologies.
“Jaguar Elite will give potential customers a rational permission slip to indulge themselves in a brand and a car that resonates on a deeply emotional level,” says Kim McCullough, vice president-marketing, Jaguar North America.
Jaguar Elite will underpin a new product and brand marketing push this fall in the U.S., focusing initially on the XF and XJ. The “Not Business As Usual” campaign features a global television commercial still under development, as well as print, digital and social media assets and a customer outreach effort.
Jaguar expects to have a monthly presence on TV beginning with the launch of the redesigned XJ and XF.
The XE will be the focus of a seven-city test-drive tour beginning in Los Angles in November. “The Art of Performance Tour: Lights, Camera, Drive!” targets millennial consumers by offering them to experience the full ’16/’17 Jaguar lineup, including the F-Pace.
The program includes a cinematic element that celebrates Jaguar’s role in film and provides XE test drivers the opportunity to star in a 1-minute action sequence they can share with friends over social media.
Jaguar’s actions over the next few months support a $5 billion product and manufacturing investment this year. That’s nearly twice what parent Tata Motors of India paid for the brand when it scooped it up during Ford’s fire sale of its Premier Auto Group in 2008.
“Today is the beginning of the next generation of Jaguar, as the brand grows from a limited 3-model lineup to a more competitive 5-product portfolio driven by performance and design,” says Joe Eberhardt, president and CEO-Jaguar Land Rover North America.
“The next six months will see an influx of new products as a result of a deep investment in vehicle development, quality and manufacturing that has fully modernized the brand,” he says in a statement.