Jaguar to Make Product Line-up Changes As Brand Chases Profitability
Jaguar to end production of gorgeous XF Sportbrake, among other models, as consumers continue to buy SUVs en masse.
There has been a massive shift with consumers buying new vehicles. They all want bigger vehicles that have more utility and a higher seating position. Naturally, this means that sport utility vehicles, and newer, smaller compact utility vehicles, are seeing a massive surge in sales. As such, manufacturers are scrambling to expand their product line-up, bringing in new offerings to fit every niche in the utility vehicle segment. It’s no coincidence that models like E-PACE, F-PACE and, now I-PACE have sprung up so quickly, from Jaguar, which is a relatively small brand.
Jaguar U.S. CEO, Joe Eberhardt, recently got quite candid with The Detroit Bureau over the future of the brand, and what this shift in consumer preference means for the company.
According to reporting from The Detroit Bureau, Jaguar posted a “loss of $371.5 million for the final quarter of 2018. That’s triggered a two-prong turnaround program that, U.S. CEO Joe Eberhardt said, is aimed at making the company ‘sustainable.'”
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While Eberhardt is pleased with how E-PACE, F-PACE and I-PACE have been received, they do account for 70% of Jaguar sales, he stresses the need to continue to expand SUV offerings. However, the trade off means that unprofitable model lines are going to have to get the axe to accelerate that expansion.
“I don’t think we knew how quickly that trend would happen when we did the F-Pace, E-Pace and I-Pace, so I guess you could call it luck. I can guarantee at the time, nobody said it would be 70% at planning meetings. The good news is that we have the product. The question now is how we react on the downside with cars that are not in demand.”
According to The Detroit Bureau, Jaguar will be discontinuing any manual transmission offerings for North America in 2019, as well as diesel powertrains. Also on the chopping block is the enthusiasts favorite, XF Sportbrake, as American consumers, by and large, haven’t warmed to the wagon, which is a shame. Also in question is the future of the venerable XJ full-size sedan. XJ is due for a refresh, but the brand is going to have to crunch the numbers to see if it’s worth their while, profitability-wise.
Eberhardt’s two-part plan, of cutting unprofitable model lines (sedans) and expanding the profitable ones (SUVs) is a necessary evil to stay competitive in the car making business. According to Eberhardt, these turnaround plans, dubbed “Charge” and “Acceleration” are poised to bring a potential $3.3 billion improvement to the brand’s bottom line, putting them back into profitability.