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Jaguar preparing to re-enter compact segment

by Nat Shirley

Jaguar is planning to add a new, entry-level model to its lineup.

Jaguar has been without a small, entry-level model since the death of the X-Type in 2008, but the automaker says that re-entering the compact segment is now one of its top priorities.

The new offering will be positioned below the mid-size XF sedan and compete in the $40,000-$50,000 price bracket, according to Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark. The project is in its early phases, and exactly what body style - or styles - it will take has not been finalized.

"We have to get back into that segment," Hallmark Automotive News. "I won't say whether it's with a sedan or another body style or more than one car."

One possibility is a direct successor to the X-Type sedan. Previous rumors have suggested that such a car could ride on a shrunken version of Jaguar and Land Rover's rear- and all-wheel-drive Premium Lightweight Architecture that underpins models such as the Jaguar XJ and Range Rover.

With the compact crossover segment currently enjoying record growth in numerous key markets, a small CUV could also make sense for Jaguar. It would likely ride on a Land Rover platform but be biased towards performance on the pavement.

"If we were to enter a crossover segment, then it would be more road-oriented rather than off-road," Hallmark said. "It would not be cut-and-paste. It would be using that core global competence."

Despite recent updates to its core XF and XJ models, Jaguar hasn't been posting strong sales numbers, so a new entry-level vehicle - whatever form it ends up taking - could be just the thing to boost volume and bring younger buyers into the automaker's showrooms.

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