Are You Ready For The Jaguar Hatchback?

Wed 24th Jun 2020

The man responsible for the future design of all Jaguars has revealed that the marque could take an unexpected move towards smaller cars, with options of changing the smaller XE into a hatchback.

Julian Thompson was promoted to Jaguar Design Director almost one year ago, filling the legendary shoes of previous incumbent, Ian Callum, a man widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest car designers.

Thompson spent twenty years working alongside Callum, so knows the Jaguar DNA on an intimate level, working together to reimagine the XK, XF, XE. Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with Autocar recently, Thompson was candid enough to admit the pair often disagreed on the direction Jaguar should take on their design strategy, so having had his feet under the desk for one year, what can we expect to see from the future of the iconic English brand?
“It seems to me most of the gaps in the market have been plugged,” Thompson told Autocar. “If you go back 10-15 years to Evoque days, that was a true white space car. But there are few opportunities like that left. We’ve brought Jaguar’s products up to date, too, so I believe it’s time to make them richer, more special and more distinctive.

“I believe it’s more important for manufacturers like us to have a very diverse customer group. We don’t just want loads of white Americans and Europeans: we want a global audience and many more female owners. We want more owners from the creative areas, too, who particularly seek beautiful cars and emotional design. Our values work perfectly for them.”

Pushing away suggestions that Jaguar could aim for a high-end vehicle in the region of the Bentley or Rolls-Royce, Thompson made the rather wild suggestion that we might be seeing smaller Jags in the near future, ones aimed at a more affordable end of the market.

Thompson said: “I’d love to do some smaller cars, and it feels as though the time is right. Jaguar needs a global product that could appeal to younger buyers, and more females as well. Our values are ideal for owners who want more efficient cars but still like design quality, luxury and cars that are nice to drive. But it’s a tough sector. You need big numbers, which means big factories, and a big organisation to sell them. But that’s definitely where I’d like us to be.”

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