In one of the oddest stories we’ve seen recently, Jaguar’s global brand director, Adrian Hallmark, says the automaker is planning a compact luxury car to top the best the Germans can produce, which includes the BMW 3 Series fighter. Not only that, but another Jaguar Land Rover executive was quoted as saying that it was Jaguar’s “last chance.”
In an interview with the UK’s Autocar, Hallmark said that Jaguar will “build the most advanced, most efficient, most refined car in that segment. Not almost as good as, but better than the best in the world.” Considering the segment the new Jag wants to play in is populated by the likes of the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the BMW 3 Series, those are some fighting words.
Japanese automakers like Lexus and Infiniti have still struggled to gain traction; the three German automakers are expected to sell 1.15 million cars of a total 1.3 million cars sold in the segment next year, with the Japanese and the Cadillac ATS expected to account for fewer than 150,000 sales. The new Jaguar is codenamed X760, and will be an all-new, developed from scratch model. Another JLR executive was quoted in an analysis report by Bernstein media as saying “Jaguar is not viable at 60,000 units per year. If the X760 fails, it will probably be the end for the brand.”
The Jaguar X760 is expected to debut at the Paris Auto Show next year, and go on sale in 2015. Jaguar believes that it has three advantages that should make it a relevant player in the market. It’s all aluminum frame should make for a lightweight, solid car that will be fuel efficient and provide excellent driving characteristics. It will also have all-new rear-wheel drive architecture that should help it take on the BMW 3 Series, widely considered to have the best driving dynamics in the segment. Jaguar says it has learned an immense amount in developing the much lauded F-Type. Lastly, and important in today’s market, the automaker says it will be powered by fuel-efficient engines. We’ll be following closely to bring details on the X760 as they emerge.