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Jaguar Considering a Return to the Compact Segment

By Brittany Cermak on January 28, 2013

Jaguar currently sells three models in the United States—the XF, XJ, and XK (pictured above). Soon, the British automaker will introduce its F-Type sports car to the mix. Intended to succeed Jaguar’s E-Type, which is generally considered to be one of the most iconic sports cars of the 1960’s, the F-Type will start at $69,000. While that price would put the F-Type near the top of a lot of other luxury automaker’s lineups, the upcoming sports car’s starting MSRP is higher than only the $46,975 starting MSRP of Jaguar’s entry-level XF sedan. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that Jaguar’s global brand director recently told Automotive News that the automaker is hoping to improve brand accessibility and boost sales with a return to the compact segment.

Calling the move a “top priority,” Adrian Hallmark was adamant about the need for Jaguar to return to the compact segment, but was unable to provide specific details about the automaker’s plans. Though he suggested the possibility of a compact sedan, he also said that Jaguar would not be prevented from marketing a compact crossover despite their relationship with Land Rover. If a Jaguar develops a crossover, however, he did say that it would be designed with an emphasis on on-road performance. Hallmark did not rule out the possibility of more than one new compact model, but told Automotive News that the targeted price range for any new Jaguar compact is $40,000-$50,000.

The last compact vehicle Jaguar marketed was the X-Type, which was discontinued with the 2009 model year in 2008. Though Jaguar (owned by Ford at the time) hoped global sales of the X-Type would reach 100,000 a year, they ultimately fell well short of that mark, peaking at 50,000 in 2003. Two years later, Jaguar saw X-Type sales plummet by almost 50% in the U.S. as critics of the model recognized the sport sedan for what it was—nothing more than a Ford Contour in disguise. Eventually earning a place on TIME magazine’s 50 Worst Cars of All Time list, the X-Type dealt quite a financial blow to Jaguar, which Ford then promptly sold to the brand's current owner—Tata Motors.

Sources: Automotive News

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