• After Failing To Take On BMW and Audi, Jaguar Makes An Even Bigger Mistake

Jaguar couldn’t take on regular luxury brands, so it thinks it can fight Porsche and Bentley

LISTEN 03:55

If you don’t think Jaguar has been confused about what it’s doing lately, then you should probably pay a little more attention. As an example, back in 2019, Jaguar teased its new XJ electric saloon at the reveal of the 2020 Land Rover Defender launch event. The very next day Jaguar said there’s still life in saloons and sports cars, claiming to never give into the SUV craze. And, this is where things start to get a little wonky…..

Jaguar Thought It Could Take On BMW and Audi

2021 Jaguar XJ EV Exterior Spyshots
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In early march, we got a good look at the new Jaguar XJ EV as it was caught going through testing in nearly complete prototype form. Things went quite until we learned in September of 2020 that the new Range Rover EV and the XJ EV were delayed by “a couple of months.” Five months later, Jaguar officially killed off the Jaguar XJ EV, despite the fact that it was so close to being ready for production, while still promising that brand was shifting to electrification - something that potentially puts the rest of the lineup in jeopardy as well.

2021 Jaguar XJ EV Exterior Spyshots
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At this point, it was clear that Jaguar didn’t know what it was doing. It wanted to compete with BMW and Audi, but it simply couldn’t. Despite JLR claiming “our products are in demand around the globe,” Jaguar itself sold just 102,494 vehicles throughout all of 2020, down from 125,787 in 2019 – really killing it with that demand, right?

So, one could argue that BMW and Audi are too big for a brand like Jaguar to compete with. Maybe you’re right. Perhaps we can blame the COVID-19 pandemic for the company’s sales drop in 2020, but you can’t put all the blame, as automakers like BMW, for example, saw a reasonable drop of 8.4 percent during he same period. But, then again, perhaps Jaguar isn’t exactly operating with a modern level of thinking. There was a sign of hope, though, as company CfO, Adrian Mardell, told investors:

2018 Jaguar E-Pace High Resolution Exterior
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“Taking on BMW, Daimler or Audi makes no sense for a company that is a quarter of its size.”

Great, so the company realized it probably should be on the same field as brands like BMW and Audi. Maybe the brand was starting to restructure itself in a way that made sense. Well, think again, as the company’s latest and “needed” drastic action is to look even higher up in the food chain. It couldn’t compete with $60,000 and $70,000 German cars, so now it wants to shift into ultra-luxury territory to take on brands like Bentley and Porsche. This “move” comes from none other than new Jaguar CEO Thierry Bollore – a man that came over from Renault and tore up the plan that was in place and could have eventually worked. Jaguar will still, apparently, go all electric by 2025.

JLR’s Chief Creative Officer, Gerry McGovern, reportedly told Investors that Jaguar will become a true luxury experience:

“This new brand will be lower volume, it will be more exclusive and it will be a true luxury experience.”
2018 Jaguar E-Pace High Resolution Exterior
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So, there you have it. Jaguar couldn’t compete in with brands like BMW and Audi, so hey why not dive into the ultra-luxury market. It could work, in theory, if the brand really does its homework. But I can tell you for sure that Jaguar as I know it today, doesn’t shine even the slightest glimmer of light on brands like Porsche and Bentley. Jaguars are nice, but I – apparently like most of the population – would rather spend money on a BMW or Audi over a Jaguar. Will that change in five years as the company restructures itself and tries to take on a new market? We’ll just have to wait and see, but if it doesn’t work, Jaguar might not survive this decade.

I know that the most successful people in the world always reach far beyond their grasp, but I’m not sure Jaguar should be reaching quite so far. Things are going to get interesting.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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