Exclusive: Jaguar’s luxury reinvention to start from £100k
New boss Thierry Bollore reveals that Jaguar will be reinvented as a luxury car brand to take on Bentley, with the design of a new family already signed off
Bolloré’s ‘Reimagine’ strategy has already revealed plans to reposition Jaguar and take it all-electric with a whole new product range arriving from 2025. But in his first interview since taking charge of JLR last September, Bolloré has told Auto Express that the initial design work for a new family of Jaguars has been completed and that the brand will be competing against Bentley, with prices in the region of £100,000.
Auto Express understands that the new Jaguar family is likely to comprise three all-new models, expected to be a couple of crossovers and a sporting two-door car. And Bolloré confirmed that with the design of the family signed off, the job of finding a suitable electric car platform is under way.
Bolloré, along with JLR chief creative officer Gerry McGovern, has a clear vision of what luxury means for the new Jaguar. “We say modern luxury,” he tells us.
“So first it’s price. Luxury starts not far from £100,000. And then modern luxury, for us, is something which is extremely reductive, which is getting positioned in a way that fits with Jaguar in terms of refinement, in terms of modernity, in terms of engineering, in terms of technologies.
“When Jaguar was incredibly successful, at the time when the E-Type got onto the market, it was a copy of nothing. That is what we are preparing now.”
Bolloré revealed that he had looked at JLR as a potential purchase when he was at Renault. But while he was full of praise for the Land Rover side of the business, Jaguar, he said, was damaged.
“But the situation of Jaguar was really a concern from outside, and more than a concern from inside, because the brand has been damaged to a certain extent.”
Bolloré says of the current line-up of Jaguars: “They are beautiful cars. So you are wondering why we don’t sell more? They go for Audi or they go for BMW. So it’s a real issue in the positioning of the brand.”
However, deciding the direction for the new Jaguar has meant competition for design teams within the organisation.
“Gerry has created an incredible contest inside the company with all designers,” said Bolloré. “He has given the same instruction to three different groups, with their own inspiration. And they were totally free to reinvent absolutely from scratch what could be the future Jaguar.”
There has to be a transition between current and future models, with Bolloré revealing the only car to overlap is likely to be the all-electric I-Pace – the car he is currently driving. And although the new models’ platform is likely to be different from the I-Pace’s, that car is being used to develop tech for the new Jaguars.
Talking of overlap, Bolloré also hinted at a change in positioning for some Land Rover models.“Today we have some overlaps with the existing cars, including inside Land Rover,” he said. “We want to make this distinction happen very clearly.
“Some of our cars are on the same platforms today. They are similar sometimes in proportion. They are similar in the way they look like SUVs. There are many similarities that we want to avoid.
“The goal is really to harvest the positioning of Range Rover, Defender, and Discovery. We have not reached by far our potential, especially with Range Rover and Defender in terms of pricing power. The beauty of that business model is that we can get higher in price and still enjoy scale which is very significant compared to the other luxurious brands.”
Bolloré is convinced, though, that Range Rover and Jaguar are brands that can co-exist. “The positioning of Jaguar should be very distinct, but similar in positioning: it’s modern luxury, but at the same time, capable of attracting enough customers to have a significant volume as well.”
What that does mean is that Jaguar will be producing larger cars, not smaller ones. “I think our customers, if you take Land Rover, want large cars. What we can hear is, ‘We want space’ and we want to match with the needs of our customers. It’s not because it’s luxurious or not luxurious, but what they want is significant space.”
In spite of the work ahead, Bolloré is confident he’ll hit his 2025 target for the new Jaguar, with his team working 40 per cent faster than when developing previous models. But will we get a hint of what’s coming before then? “Could be,” he hints with a smile. “It’s one of the options, but it’s not decided yet.”
Click here for our in-depth review of the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV...