The F-Pace is coming. The XE is coming sooner. Neither are here yet. While we wait, Jaguar USA is cutting the prices of its cars and equipping them with more standard equipment.
Jaguar’s products are well received by the automotive press, but buyers are rejecting the current crop of Jaguars so routinely that the company’s total monthly U.S. sales volume has been exceeded by Maserati twice in the last four months.
In August, Maserati reported a 1% year-over-year increase to 1245 units, not nearly enough to make Maserati’s Ghibli, Quattroporte, or GranTurismo a common sight on the school run. Yet Jaguar sold fewer cars than that last month. Jaguar’s August volume slid 3% to 1143.
15 copies of the discontinued XK, an 89% drop compared with August 2014
321 copies of the XF, a 13% year-over-year increase, but an 11-month low for the XF as Jaguar readies its forthcoming replacement, already revealed
371 copies of the XJ, Jaguar’s biggest sedan, a 4% drop, and less than one-fifth the total achieved by the far more costly Mercedes-Benz flagship, the S-Class
a 15% jump to 436 F-Types, a hit by nearly every measuring stick
The XK, a coupe/convertible meant to tackle the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and BMW 6-Series, last generated more than 4000 annual U.S. sales in 2007. Between 2012 and 2014, Jaguar USA sold only 4431 XKs in total.
Above: 2016 Jaguar XF. Top: 2016 Jaguar XE.
JAGUAR U.S. SALES 2002 Total: 61,204 2014 Total: 15,773
Aug. 2015 YTD – Brand: -4% to 10,221 Aug. 2015 YTD – XF: +10% to 4381 Aug. 2015 YTD – F-Type: +15% to 3013 Aug. 2015 YTD – XJ: -15% to 2563 Aug. 2015 YTD – XK: -76% to 264
The first-gen XF was a more conventionally attractive follow-up to the Lincoln LS-related S-Type. The upcoming XF will be priced from $53,000, a 9% cut compared with the outgoing model. At best, Jaguar only sold 8578 XFs in a single year. That year, 2009, was the 5-Series-fighting XF’s first full year. Jaguar has averaged fewer than 6500 XF sales per year. BMW sells more than 50,000 copies of the 5-Series each year in America.
Internet product planners felt the XJ needed to lose its retro styling. Jaguar eventually heeded that advice. XJ sales are now dreadfully low. Jaguar USA sold 10,552 XJs in 2004; only 4329 a decade later. The XJ looked like a traditional Jaguar in 2004 but looked like a more visually striking XF in 2014. XJ pricing for the 2016 model year starts just above $75,000 but the basic XJ will now include $7000 worth of kit that was previously optional.
Jaguar’s First SUV, The F-Pace, Set For A
Production Reveal At This Fall’s Frankfurt Show
The F-Type, of course, is Jaguar’s convertible/coupe success story that marries terrific styling to an outrageous soundtrack and genuine performance. In 2014, the F-Type sold twice as often as the BMW Z4 and came within 625 units of outselling the Mercedes-Benz SLK. (Porsche sold 7292 Boxsters and Caymans to the F-type’s 4112; Porsche also sold 10,433 911s.) F-Type pricing doesn’t dramatically change for MY2016, but there will be more standard equipment.
Across the lineup, Jaguar’s comprehensive warranty will now stretch to five years or 60,000 miles. Jaguar will also throw in free scheduled maintenance. The upcoming XE will be priced far lower than industry observers anticipated. At $36,000 to start, the XE will cost less than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS, and Audi A4. An available diesel engine will add just $1500 to the cost.
2016 Jaguar XJ
Anything to bring in more buyers. Jaguar was once a player in America’s premium car market, albeit not a major one. In 2002, Jaguar sold 61,204 cars, one Jaguar for every 3.8 BMWs. In 2014, Jaguar sold 15,773 cars, one Jaguar for every 21.5 BMWs. Through the first eight months of 2015, Jaguar sales are down 4%, a loss of 467 sales, to just 10,221 units. That’s one Jaguar for every 21.9 BMWs; one Jaguar for every BMW 3-Series; one Jaguar for every 6.1 copies of the Lexus RX; one Jaguar for every 4.2 Land Rovers.
Yes, the market has turned. In 2002, Jaguar outsold its former Ford PAG partner and current Tata partner, Land Rover, by 1.5-to-1 in the United States.
2016 Jaguar F-Type
A premium market which looks with increasing fondness at SUVs doesn’t change the fact that hundreds of thousands of buyers still veer toward the 3-Series, C-Class, A4, ES, 5-Series, and S-Class, among others. All those buyers would continue to do so, Jaguar clearly believes, unless the new entry-level XE is priced competitively. Perhaps competitively is too weak a word. Jaguar has priced the basic XE like an Accord Touring.
If a handsome, dynamically competent sedan with pricing that makes Jaguar look like more of an Acura rival than a Benz alternative, they’ll surely sell some.
Good looks and dynamic competence have proven insufficient on their own.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.