Jaguar wants you to think of it as a Bentley, Aston Martin rival

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Words: Matthew Hansen
25 Feb 2021

As the world’s car brands try to figure out a way to make electric cars more affordable, Jaguar has gone down an entirely different route — declaring its aspirations of going upmarket to become a rival to the likes of Bentley and Aston Martin.

In an interview with European press, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bollore said that the brand was looking to “reposition” itself among a pricier tier of companies. The quotes come a week after Jaguar confirmed its plans to go fully electric by 2025 — five years prior to the UK’s ban on internal combustion engines.

“We will reposition completely the Jaguar brand,” Bollore said. “The SUV will be Land Rover. Jaguar will be different from the SUVs. Very distinct.” The CEO also spoke about the axed XJ luxury sedan, saying it didn’t align with Jaguar’s “modern luxury” brand identity.

“Although the nameplate may be retained, the planned Jaguar XJ replacement will not form part of the line-up, as the brand looks to realize its unique potential,” he added.

The move is likely to trigger a juggling act in Jaguar’s SUV line-up. Its entry-level crossover, the e-Pace, could be running on borrowed time. The more expensive Range Rover Evoque could soon become JLR’s new entry level model across its sister brands.

Jaguar’s gung-ho attitude towards electrification transition and upmarket aspirations come during a time of financial rebound. In 2019 the British firm recorded a £3.6billion loss, which was then compounded by stormy seas during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, late 2020 and early 2021 have been mostly kind to Jaguar. It reported positive profits and cash flow late last year, namely during the fiscal second quarter.

“While sales and profitability have not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels in most markets, it was particularly encouraging to see China sales up year-on-year and global sales of the new Land Rover Defender starting to ramp up,” said JLR chief financial officer Adrian Mardell.

The electrification exercise is not coming cheap. Jaguar is set to invest £2.5billion into its electric development on top of what it’s already invested into the technology. This money will, among other things, help with the design and production of an all-new Jaguar-exclusive vehicle architecture.

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