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(...and Jaguar Lovers)
In This Age Of Electrification?
by Wayne Estrada, Club Founder
Jaguar, as well as the automotive industry and car enthusiasts are at a major crossroad. With a world racing ever faster into high technology and software controlled systems, the push for automation and electrification is proceeding at an ever quicker pace.
Despite the intitial introduction of electric cars by Nissan with their miniscule entry “The LEAF”, Tesla Cars has led the charge (pun intended) in driving a century of petroleum based vehicles to embrace an entirely different way of powering vehicles, but in addition to this radical pivot to electricity, other forces are moving the buying public away from Jaguar.
For Jaguar in particular, this shift raises two major problems that do not fit into their historical market place position as a purveyor of luxury sedans and dynamic sports cars with a public seemingly obssesed with CUVs and SUVs. Even companies that would NEVER have embraced these vehicles, such as Rolls Royce, Porsche, and Ferrari offer these bemonouths - and they are selling extremely well. Meanwhile although Jaguar has introduced three CUVs, and even one of them being electric (the well-reviewed iPace) they have announced that their only sports car, the F-Type is being discontinued but will possibly be electrified, and unlike Mercedes that offers a range of sports cars, Jag has killed off their luxury sports car, the XK. Even more tragic is the announcement earlier this year that the next generation XJ luxury sedan that was developed as a pure electric has been confusingly cancelled, leaving two huge holes in their traditional product line.
So what is next for Jaguar and for enthusiasts of the marque? This is a difficult question for two reasons. First the generations coming up are seemingly not interested in the history of any marque, but instead either prefer living as carless Uber-ites or buying the best iPhone on wheels. Second as mentioned, luxury sedans and sports cars are no longer on most people’s buying lists. Except for the Mazda MX-5 (previously the Miata) a desire for an MG or Triumph-like sports model is extremely limited.
But there is one more reason that might be the end of Jaguar, and that is the complete lack of marketplace perception by the buying public. Auto reviewers often compare models from Mercedes, BMW, Audi (and of late Genesis) with nary a mention of the competing Jaguar model. THen again, not even having a car in that segment for review doesn’t help matters.
Lastly that leaves us, the Jaguar enthusiast as well as other LBC owners and JCNA clubs with a diminishing half-life of membership. Putting it frankly, the generations that grew up on the MGB, TR6, and E-Type are going the way of the MG, TR, and E-Type and just as Jaguar (at least for now) is not augmenting their product line, car clubs all over are also having trouble augmenting their membership rolls.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m still bullish on Jaguar and hope for the best for them as well as clubs such as ours, but as the world changes we will have to adapt to new realities going forward as we hear the diminishing notes of DOHC XKs and SuperV8s fading away to the quiet hum of an electrical revolution.
The JCNA AGM, Richmond VA 2013
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