Jaguar's next turnaround plan outlines a major shift to upmarket luxury

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Jaguar wants to reinvent itself again, this time as a purveyor of EVs that competes in the luxury space dominated by Bentley. It outlined a turnaround plan written to help it move upmarket while launching a new range of models.

Company boss Thierry Bolloré, a French industry veteran who briefly ran Renault in the late 2010s, told British magazine Auto Express he wants Jaguar to represent what he described as "modern luxury." He added his vision of modern luxury is "extremely reductive" in terms of refinement, modernity, engineering, and technologies. Jaguar said it will go EV-only, yet it scrapped the next-generation XJ at the 11th hour in 2021 because the sedan didn't fit its image of a re-imagined brand. Making Jaguar synonymous with "modern luxury" requires starting from scratch.

"The situation at Jaguar was really a concern from outside," said Bolloré after revealing Renault looked at purchasing Jaguar-Land Rover in the late 2010s, "and more than a concern from inside, because the brand has been damaged to a certain extent." That's why the turnaround plan calls for a blank slate to rebuild Jaguar on.

Design work for an entirely new range of Jaguar models has been completed, the executive affirmed, and Auto Express speculates the portfolio will initially consist of three models: a two-door sports car (likely a follow-up to the F-Type) and a pair of crossovers. Note that there's no sedan on the horizon. These three cars will ride on the same modular architecture, though it's too early to tell if it will be developed in-house or shared with another carmaker. They'll wear a new design language that was forged by holding an internal contest three teams participated in.

Competing with Bentley, among other carmakers, will require convincing customers to pay six-digit sums. "Luxury starts not far from £100,000," said Bolloré, a figure which represents about $140,000 at the current conversion rate. As of writing, none of Jaguar's models start above $100,000, though some cross that threshold once options are piled on. Its cheapest model, the E-Pace, starts at $39,950. Its most expensive is the electric I-Pace at $69,850.

No one would pay $140,000 for an E-Pace, even if it's electric and brimming with tech, so Jaguar's upcoming models will all be relatively large. That doesn't mean Bolloré will put a leaping cat emblem on a Land Rover Range Rover and call it a good job well done. He wants to ensure the two sister brands coexist without overlapping.

"When Jaguar was incredibly successful, at the time when the T-Type got onto the market, it was a copy of nothing," he said. "That is what we are preparing now." Jaguar has less than four years to make it happen.

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