Jaguar has high hopes for its upcoming midsize sedan, Autocar reports, because without the new model's additional sales the British luxury marque could go under.
At the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, Jaguar confirmed it will launch a midsize sports sedan by 2015. The new aluminum-intensive model fits below the Jaguar XF and will compete with models like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The car, expected to be called the Jaguar XS (spy photos of which are shown here), will debut in the U.S. market in 2016. It will ride on an all-new chassis codenamed X760 and will spawn both station-wagon and crossover variants.
Jaguar Land Rover strategy director Adrian Hallmark told Autocar that he has extremely strong expectations for the Jaguar XS. "It will look and drive like a Jaguar, be filled with the highest technology that anyone has ever brought to that segment, and have the most efficient engines and the most refined feel in its class," Hallmark told Autocar. "Not almost as good as, but better than the best in the world."
As a result, Hallmark said the XS would help Jaguar grow from its current position as an "also-ran" in the automotive world. Last year, Jaguar sold only 12,011 cars in the U.S. -- whereas Audi sold 139,310 and BMW posted 347,583 American sales in 2012.
According to Autocar, Jaguar is betting big on the ability of the XS to draw in new, younger customers, as doing so is key to the marque's survival. If Jaguar cannot boost its global annual sales figure from 60,000 to about 80,000 by adding the XS, the brand may not survive: "This is the only choice as Jaguar is not viable at 60,000 units. If the X760 fails, it will be probably be the end for the brand," Autocar quotes an unnamed Jaguar executive as saying.
After the four-door sedan debuts in 2015, Jaguar will launch a station wagon variant in 2015. Next up is a crossover version of the Jaguar XS, which will reportedly be codenamed X761 and be sized to rival the BMW X3 and upcoming X4 -- somewhat smaller than was previewed with the Jaguar C-X17 concept shown at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. If all those models prove successful, look for a two-door Jaguar coupe version in 2018. That year will also bring a mild refresh for the Jaguar XS sedan.