OAK BROOK, IL – The reason Jaguar is adding a pair of compact, lower-priced, entry-level models – the XE sedan and F-Pace CUV – is simple, says Rob Filipovic, general manager-product planning, at Jaguar North America.
“We needed to get more people into the Jaguar family,” he says in an interview while detailing the strategy behind launching the pair of new Jaguars at a Midwest Automotive Media Assn. preview here.
“We were too restricted in what we offered with only three models,” he says of the decision to expand that to five models when the ’17 XE and ’17 F-Pace go on sale in the U.S. in April.
“I won’t comment on what we targeted in the way of sales, but we expect a substantial increase of about threefold,” Filipovic says. In calendar 2014 Jaguar sold 81,570 vehicles globally, of which 15,773 were sold in the U.S.
Filipovic says the XE sedan is expected to be the volume leader, because luxury sedans represent a larger segment of the luxury market than CUVs. But he notes “crossovers are experiencing such rapid growth that sales of the sedan and CUV could be similar.”
The XE and F-Pace compacts lead the move downmarket with prices putting the vehicles in the middle range of their competition. The XE will start at $34,900 and run to $41,900, and offer three powertrain choices, a pair of 2.0L 4-cyl. gasoline or diesel engines and a 3.0L supercharged V-6. The F-Pace will be priced from $40,990 to $56,700 and offer either a 2.0L diesel or a choice of a 340- or 380-hp gas V-6.
As with the current crop of low-priced, entry-level non-luxury CUVs in the market today, consumers are looking for smaller size but don't want to sacrifice creature comforts, so “all the bells and whistles, from power tailgate to both heated and cooled seats and Wi-Fi availability” will be found in the F-Pace, Filipovic says.
Lowering Price, Adding Equipment
Prior to the arrival of the new compacts Jaguar is adopting a new pricing strategy starting with the ’16 model year to attract more buyers by lowering the sticker price or adding more standard equipment to the existing XF, XJ and F-Type models.
The arrival of the XE and F-Pace will benefit Jaguar since it doesn’t offer a small sedan or CUV now. And the two new offerings should lower the average age of Jaguar owners while potentially keeping them in the family longer.
“We expect to expand our reach with buyers about 10 years younger than they are currently (55-57 years old). We expect them to be in their 30s and 40s with incomes of $120,000 to $150,000, family-oriented people with kids that our other cars weren't able to serve,” Filipovic says, noting that when consumers had kids, the XF, XJ and F-Type weren’t vehicles in which they could haul the family.
The executive says he expects “an enormous number of conquest sales,” including buyers both moving into luxury brands as well as moving around within luxury brands. He also expects both Jaguar and non-Jaguar luxury owners opting to downsize their vehicle to give the new compacts a look.
The task, however, is to attract folks who haven’t considered a Jaguar in the past: “We need to make lots of people aware of the Jaguar brand again, and the next step is an extensive awareness campaign,” Filipovic says.
Jaguar will launch “The Art of Performance Tour,” kicking off in November at the Los Angeles auto show and culminating with the New York auto show next March, to bring the entire Jaguar lineup – with the focus on the XE and F-Pace –to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Washington and New York for consumer ride-and-drive programs.
“We figure that by the time of the New York auto show next year we will have put at least 10,000 people into the vehicles,” Filipovic says.
If Jaguar expects to attract new buyers and increase sales threefold by expanding its lineup from three to five vehicles by next spring, does it have plans to add more new models to the family after that?
“We don’t comment on future product,” Filipovic laughs, “but potential plans to expand sales with new products are on the radar.”