Jaguar Bets On Lower Prices, EliteCare For Sales Reboot

September 3, 2015

Jaguar will cut prices and boost its standard warranty and service package as it rolls out a new generation of vehicles.

Joe Eberhardt, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America, says the upcoming launches of the new 2016 Jaguar XF and 2017 Jaguar XE sedans, and the world debut of the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace crossover SUV this month at the Frankfurt Auto Show, give the company the "dramatic opportunity to recast the Jaguar brand."

The issue: while Jaguar Land Rover expects to sell more than a half million vehicles worldwide this year, the Jaguar brand accounts for less than a fifth of that volume. In 2014, the company sold 81,570 Jaguar cars, a figure that was up by six percent, but still far behind the strong-selling Land Rover lineup.

"That is about to change in a fairly substantial way," Eberhardt says.

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As it rolls out its new vehicle lineup, Jaguar will adjust prices and reposition its vehicles within their respective segments, he adds. It will also launch a new warranty and service initiative called Jaguar EliteCare, and will make it standard on every new Jaguar vehicle.

A parallel plan isn't under consideration for the Land Rover brand, Eberhardt says.

Prices go lower

The fundamental change in strategy starts with the pricing of the entire Jaguar lineup in the U.S., Eberhardt says, which will address the number-one issue buyers turn away from its cars. Jaguar vehicles, he says, have tended to carry a price at the top end of their segments.

When it launches the XF, Jaguar will also slim down its trim level selection. Going forward, its vehicles will be sold in three trim levels: Premium, Prestige, and R-Sport. It's an Audi-like structure that Jaguar hopes will allow it to build about 90 percent of its vehicles within pre-defined packages, which in turn makes it easier and less costly to manufacture them.

That process will create new base models with more standard features. Those base models may not sell in big volumes, Eberhardt says, "but will help us change perception of those vehicles."

Finally, Jaguar will add EliteCare, which it says extends the standard warranty and maintenance plans to the longest terms in the class. Each Jaguar will come with a five-year, 60,000-mile warranty with free maintenance. Roadside assistance will be covered for the same term, as will some features of its new InControl service, including remote access and emergency services. The EliteCare plan will also be transferrable through its term.

The 2016 Jaguar lineup

First up in the repositioning plan is the 2016 Jaguar XF, the new mid-size, aluminum-intensive sedan set to go on sale in the fall. The XF will carry a base price of $52,895 including destination--a price that Eberhardt says will put the supercharged, V-6-powered sedan in the middle of its competition, in terms of pricing. Its rivals include vehicles like the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS, and Audi A6. XF prices will range up to $66,695 for an all-wheel-drive XF S.

A turbodiesel engine will be available for a $1,500 premium on some trim levels. A turbocharged four-cylinder model with a base price "well under $50,000" will go on sale at a later date, Eberhardt says.

Those prices pit the XF six-cylinder at the same levels as the four-cylinder 2015 XF, about 10 percent lower.

Late this fall, a revamped XJ full-size sedan with full LED headlights, a new infotainment system with full-screen navigation, and new driver-assistance systems, will go on sale. Its price will be recast to $75,395, rising to $121,995 for a long-wheelbase XJR.

The 2016 F-Type, now with all-wheel drive and an available manual transmission, is already on sale, with a new base price ranging from $65,995 to $107,445.

The new 2017 Jaguar XE compact sedan goes on sale in the spring of 2016 with a choice of turbo four, turbodiesel, and V-6 engines as well as a manual transmission and available all-wheel drive, the XE will carry a base price of $35,895, with supercharged V-6 models carrying a base price of $42,695.

Finally, Jaguar hasn't released pricing for the 2017 F-Pace crossover SUV, but says it will go on sale in the U.S. in the spring of 2016.

By the time the F-Pace goes on sale next year, Jaguar sales should be growing, Eberhardt says. And they'll need to be--the company will be building cars in new plants in the U.K., with major investments in India, Brazil, China. It also has signed a letter of intent to build vehicles in Slovakia, and signed a contract with Magna Steyr for contract manufacturing of unnamed vehicles at the Steyr facility in Graz, Austria.

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