Jaguar is set to morph into an electric-only brand whose products will be aimed directly at Tesla’s and Polestar’s, according to a recent report. Its future range will allegedly include alternatives to the Tesla Model 3 and the Polestar 2.
Nick Rogers, the head of Jaguar-Land Rover’s engineering department, told British magazine Auto Express that a small electric Jaguar “would be great.” His definition of small is different than, say, Smart’s; don’t expect the company to release an alternative to the ForTwo, or something along the lines of a Renault Twizy. Instead, he’s likely referring to a model positioned below the XE, which is currently the smallest Jaguar, in terms of size.
If approved, the car will be about the same size as a BMW 1 Series, though it might sit a little bit taller. Adding a few inches of ground clearance would give engineers more space to stuff a battery pack under the floor, while allowing its marketing department to reach a wider audience by presenting the hatchback as a crossover.
“We need to think about that. That’s a really cool space that we ideally want to be in, and ideally our customers want us to be in. It’s extremely relevant at this time,” he said.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Jaguar is starting to think small. In June 2020, we reported the company is considering replacing the aforementioned XE and the XF with a single compact model that would almost certainly be offered as a hatchback and as a sedan.
Jaguar’s transformation into an electric-only manufacturer is allegedly the brainchild of Thierry Bolloré, who will take the firm’s reins in September. He recently led Paris-based Renault, which is also allocating huge resources to electrification. We know the next-generation XJ (shown in spy shots taken far north of the Arctic Circle) will be offered with an electric powertrain (though internal combustion variants will be available, too), and Auto Express learned an XE-sized battery-powered model placed in the Model 3‘s segment is very likely, too. Finally, at least for now, an electric SUV tentatively called J-Pace will reportedly enter production in the coming years.
It’s too early to tell what the future holds for the E-Pace, the F-Pace, and the XF, though we wouldn’t be surprised if the latter does not get a replacement. Where the F-Type would fit in an electric-only range hasn’t been decided yet; sealing its fate one way or another will be one of Bolloré’s first tasks. It’s an important car because it embodies Jaguar’s performance heritage, but it’s also positioned in a segment that’s wilting at an alarming pace.
Jaguar missed its chance to downsize about a decade ago, when sales of compact hatchbacks like the Audi A3 and the BMW 1 Series took off in Europe; the current Mercedes-Benz A-Class was the fifth-best-selling car in the United Kingdom in 2019, so it doesn’t take a seasoned analyst to conclude a Jaguar entry into this segment would do rather well. Time will tell if being late and going electric will be enough to boost the company’s sales.