If you look at the current range of Jaguars, the term “hatchback” isn’t baked anywhere into the lineup — but that could soon change. Things are in flux for Jaguar Land Rover, as it eyes model cuts to stem the disruption its suffered from the coronavirus outbreak. According to Autocar, two models on the chopping block are the XE and XF. Both models aren’t particularly hot sellers, so the automaker is considering its options to replace both. One of those options would actually be a small hatchback, as well as a new electrified sedan.
As it stood even before COVID-19 became embedded into the vernacular, the market was shifting away from sedans. The compact XE was outsold thirteen to one by the BMW 3 Series (3,551 versus 47,827 in 2019), while the XF fared even worse. Despite that, Jaguar reportedly isn’t ruling out direct successors to the two cars. As the market shifts away from sedans, though, it’s also considering more drastic changes, like a small hatchback.
That possibility came about from Jaguar’s design chief Julian Thomson. Per Autocar‘s report, he hinted at the idea of building a smaller car. “I’d love to do some smaller cars,” he said. “Jaguar needs a global product that could appeal to younger buyers, and more females as well. Our values are ideal for owners who want more efficient cars buy still like design quality, luxury and cars that are nice to drive.”
The new Jaguar XJ is coming first
Jaguar’s already set to reveal a new, electric XJ as its new flagship sedan. It will ride on the brand’s new MLA platform, so that gives the company some options whether it decides to go for an internal combustion car or a full-electric model. On that platform, we expect the company to reveal new mild and plug-in hybrids as well. While Thomson points at a smaller hatchback, crossovers are where the company makes the bulk of its U.S. sales. Outside the economy space, hatchbacks don’t typically do well on our shores, which is why we don’t get models like the latest BMW 1 Series, a Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback, or the Audi A3 Sportback. Mini is a notable exception, though it represents a much smaller portion of the market than Jaguar’s traditional competition.
Right now, the closest Jaguar model we have to a “hatchback” is the Jaguar I-Pace crossover. In merging the XE and XF into a single model, going the hatchback route could give Jaguar something unique against most of its rivals. On the other hand, it may stick with sedans here since that’s where the competition exists, and the company can’t afford to cede more ground to the other luxury automakers.
Whichever route Jaguar decides to pursue, we expect an interesting time for the British marque over the next year. If a hatchback is in the cards, then those younger buyers could soon be presented with a remarkably different brand than what we know right now.