Jaguar, the legendary British and Indian-owned marque is not having an easy time these days. According to the latest results from Jaguar Land Rover, the brand reported sales for the full year 2022 down 66 percent from its all-time record in 2018.
According to information, registrations between January and December 2022 amounted to 61,661 units. This is 28.5 percent less than the volume in 2021 and 40 percent less than in 2020, the toughest year of the pandemic. Even worse, units sold last year accounted for a third of Jaguar vehicles sold in 2018, amounting to 180,833 units.
In fact, these were the lowest results since 2012, when Jaguar had a small and uncompetitive product range. By that time, Jaguar had sold nearly 54,000 units.
But how is it possible that a brand offering three relatively modern SUVs, two eye-catching sedans, and an all-electric SUV presented before the EV boom is facing such difficult times?
Let’s find out together, while being mindful that Jaguar is ready to present a 2025 relaunch plan this spring with three new electric SUVs designed to span the premium and extra luxury segments.
1. Positioning: It is difficult to position Jaguar in the premium/luxury car market. Historically, Jag has been synonymous with chunky, elegant sedans and gorgeous luxury coupes. It placed itself just a step above top-end German cars, for example. The situation changed when the brand was acquired by Ford in 1999. Jaguar expanded its offerings thanks to the investment of the Americans: the Jaguar S-Type for the E segment and the Jaguar X-Type (based on a Ford platform) for segment D are examples of this.
The years under Ford’s rule (1999-2008) changed consumer perception. Jaguar was no longer the luxury brand that produced luxury vehicles. Then came Tata Motors, which injected more resources by launching more sophisticated products.
However, Jaguar found itself in the middle of the premium fight against very strong brands such as Mercedes and BMW, which were not its rivals in the past. Jaguar could be the Maserati of Italy or the Porsche of Germany, in the sense that, based on its history, it should be positioned between the normal premium brands and super-luxury brands such as Rolls-Royce or Aston Martin. Instead, the current positioning places it in a very competitive segment.
2. Land Rover: Although it is also experiencing steep declines (down 20 percent between 2021 and 2022), the sister company has the advantage of being a true SUV brand. It has been producing off-road vehicles since its creation in 1948. As a result, it is the reference within JLR when consumers of the group are looking for an SUV.
More than helping Jaguar, Land Rover is taking buyers away thanks to its wide range of products. This is especially true when focusing on the Range Rover models, which are positioned as high-end, just like Jaguar’s SUVs.
3. Lack of new cars: The last time Jaguar unveiled an all-new production car was in March 2018, five years ago, when the I-Pace was launched. This is a very long time, especially in the premium car sector, when we are used to seeing new cars coming from Stuttgart and Munich every six months.
As with Alfa Romeo and the lack of new cars, the momentum created by a launch must be maintained not with special editions or model year updates, but with more interesting products in line with consumer demands.
4. Luxury goal for 2025: Jaguar’s sales performance in recent years is partly linked to a recovery program that is about to start and which will be revealed in more detail in a few weeks.
The revival strategy already anticipated last year by the former CEO Thierry Bolloré and confirmed by the new interim CEO Adrian Mardell foresees a switch to electric from 2025, with the abandonment of the current range (except perhaps the I-Pace ) and the presentation of two or three new battery-powered SUVs based on the Panther platform developed with Magna. All with the aim of challenging another British brand like Bentley in the field of luxury.
The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is an Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO Dynamics.