Could Jaguar become an EV-only brand?

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Just yesterday we wrote about the Heisenbergian uncertainty surrounding the future of the Jaguar F-Type. A new report in Autocar prompts us to consider extending that ambiguity to the entire Jaguar brand. The UK magazine reports the automaker’s product planners have devised a 10-year plan to switch to a pure EV lineup of cars and crossovers. According to Autocar‘s sources, this is a planning exercise and doesn’t have the green light, but it’s “fairly advanced” and has adherents inside the company.

The first shot fired would be an all-electric XJ replacement. That sedan, a “no-holds-barred luxury car” to challenge the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan, would provide emissions-free motoring before the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series come along with their EV propositions. Around 2023, an EV crossover a touch larger than the full-sized Audi E-Tron would replace both the XF and XE sedans. Two years later, a new midsized I-Pace would debut as both the F-Pace and E-Pace fade out. And two years after that, around 2027, the J-Pace luxury crossover would sigh its last ICE gasp.

And what about the F-Type? The report says “with no replacement for F-Type in the works,” an electric sports car “is also a possibility.” There’s no mention of the XK revival.

Right now, Jaguar sells seven models — four cars and three crossovers. As the Autocar article’s written, come 2027 Jaguar would have an electric XJ sedan, a full-sized EV crossover, the I-Pace, and perhaps an electric sports car. That’s a brave new world — one we’re not sure Jaguar dealers could survive in.

Problem is that Jaguar and its dealers are having plenty of problems now. Chinese-market volatility, the cloud around diesels, and Brexit uncertainty have contributed to a sales slump so dire that Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant is going to a three-day workweek for the rest of the year. The sales flu has spread to Land Rover, too, the brand’s Solihull plant closing for two weeks to realign dealer inventory. Considering all that, and with no easy relief in sight, the product planners are apparently debating whether a new, traditional three-model sedan range is worth the investment.

The upside of going all-electric is said to be higher sales, with internal estimates supposing 300,000 units annually. Last year Jaguar sold 178,500 units. The marque could rake in larger profit margins on those sales, too, thanks to premium buyers being ready to shell out big ducats for EVs. Perhaps best of all, an all-EV Jaguar range would dramatically reduce JLR’s average corporate fuel economy, potentially eliminating the engineering and design contortions Land Rover faces in order to maintain Land Rover brand values and adhere to regulations. Autocar says the off-road brand could draw the line at 48V hybrid systems if Jaguar sold only electric cars.

The idea of Jaguar — birthplace of legendary V6 and V12 engines that powered legendary cars — becoming the first mainstream OEM to go EV-only seems too wild to consider, but we could say that about a lot of automotive industry news right now. So we’ll just lay this here as a marker we can return to in 10 years and have a pint and a laugh, or a cry, about.

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