Speculation over the possibility of a Jaguar SUV has been going on for a long time. Ford, was approached with the inquiry while they were still owner of Jaguar in 2008-they denied it. The new owner of Jaguar, Ratan Tata (the boss at Tata Motors) was asked-he denied it. Will it be or not? Denials to the contrary, some believe competition may compel the birth of this new breed of a well-known cat.
A good reason to believe an SUV could be in Jaguar’s future is because BMW has doubled-down on its previous sport utility model X5 with the X6 back in 2009. This signals a commitment to the luxury SUV market that Jaguar cannot afford to ignore. If BMW has success, then it is reasonable to conclude that Tata Motors will either have to add luxury to the Land Rover or ruggedness to the Jaguar. The later seems more plausible than the former inasmuch as BMW and Jag have been long-term rivals in the luxury/sport field.
The idea of a luxury SUV has obviously gotten traction. These vehicles address a niche market composed of those who like the capability of a four wheel drive truck-like vehicle while being surrounded by luxury. It is a bit captivating to be insulated from the elements while at the same time overpowering them-what is not to love about that?
So what are these denials about? Why would Tata appear to be so against an SUV of the Jaguar kind? There are several reasons for such an assessment. Tata Motors has only recently (late 2008) acquired Jaguar from Ford Motor Company. Ford already had plans to add a pinnacle to the XK range with the XKR-R and to facelift the rest of the XK and XJ models. In carrying out those plans during the initial management phase, Jaguar will experience a smoother transition of ownership. Also, Tata would like for the previously unrealized potential in the Jaguar line to become reality. A first priority would be to re-establish its luxury sedan and sports car lines. Mr.Tata even has plans for an new XE sports car line. This anticipated masterpiece will be lightweight with all new engine offerings and looks that are stunning. Finally, Tata believes that a Jaguar SUV would take sales from the already legendary Land Rover line.
Jaguar has already flirted with the idea of a utilitarian luxury vehicle. The X Type Estate four wheel drive-available in Europe-was released. While not a completely serious SUV, the Estate has performed above many users expectations. Equipped with four wheel drive, it has been impressive in road tests including traction, control and even making it down a ski slope. The technology of the latest version of this car is surprisingly efficient and gets you through when some others fail. It is not as if Jaguar could not be impressive in this market and even excel in it.
Competition is the real driver in this discussion. As previously mentioned, BMW has already opened the door through which a Jaguar SUV could someday roll. Other companies who compete with Jaguar have concluded that they need luxury SUVs in their line to survive in North America. The 2.1 billion dollar acquisition of Jaguar by Tata is all about not being limiting. Putting any kind of leash on a Jaguar is as foolish as it is dangerous.