Tatas-owned JLR is exploring to push its Jaguar brand beyond the realms of luxury cars and is actively considering to introduce a crossover vehicle under the marque in future.
Buoyed by the response to the new station wagon Jaguar Sportbrake XF that is distinctly different from the lineage of sedans,Jaguar Land Rover is toying with the idea of a Jaguar model which is a mix between a sedan and a sports utility vehicle (SUV) in the future.
“A crossover may be relative possibility. There is also certain DNA in Jaguar,which now channelises a kind of crossover vehicle in terms of drivability,agility and that would not be a disharmony to the overall brand,” Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Chief Executive Officer Ralf Speth told a group of visiting Indian journalists at the Geneva Motor Show here.
He,however,categorically said the company will not deliver an SUV from Jaguar.
“We have lot of opportunities with Jaguar. If you see our product portfolio right now,it is very limited. So we have opportunity to grow…We are very ambitious and we invest a lot,” he added.
He said the company will announce anything about any such plans when the project reaches a certain level of maturity.
“We want to talk upon vehicles only when they reach a certain development stage,because then that make sense,” Speth said.
The company had unveiled the Jaguar Sportbrake XF at the auto show here. It is powered by a 2.2 litre engine with 8-speed automatic transmission.
Reports of the luxury saloon maker Jaguar planning to venture into the SUV or crossover space have been received with mixed reactions by auto enthusiasts. While some appreciated the move,others remained cautious on the possible competition between the two brands — Jaguar and Land Rover.
Commenting on the global SUV market,Jaguar Global Brand Director Adrian Hallmark said although the SUV space is not a very volume-driven category,but it is an important segment that is rapidly growing.
“Nothing is planned,but there are many interesting things that we do consider. We are surely considering it right now… This could be one of the 40 new products that are planned for the next five years,” he added.
Meanwhile,JLR is planning to strengthen its global distribution network by 20 per cent in the next five years.
“We are planning to aggressively expand our network. Our strategy is to add 450 new dealers across the world in the next five years,” Jaguar Land Rover Director (Group Sales Operations) Phil Popham said.
The company will add at least 60 new dealers in 2012 compared to an average of 10 new dealers in 2011,Popham added.
“In India,currently we are present with 15 dealerships in 13 cities. By 2012,we will have a presence in 22 cities,” he said,adding the company will also add 25 new dealers in China to strengthen its current network of 100 showrooms.
The company has decided to replace the Land Rover’s iconic SUV Defender with a completely new version.
“The original Defender came in 1948 and we will be selling a total of about 2 million units till 2012. It is very difficult to replace an icon,” Land Rover Global Brand
Director John Edwards said.
During the ongoing motor show,the company unveiled the concept of the new Defender — DC100.
“The new Defender will come by the middle of this decade and it is likely to start with a price of 20,000 pounds,” Edwards said.