“Incredibly desirable” upcoming Jaguar EV won’t get a cab-forward design [Update]

Jaguar Land Rover’s EV blitz under the Reimagine strategy could include the launch of an “incredibly desirable” Jaguar electric crossover, Gerry McGovern, the company’s Chief Creative Officer, had hinted in February 2021. While the Jaguar J-Pace may have been axed, a model that promises to be better seems to have appeared in its place.

There will be a clear distinction between Jaguar and Land Rover brands in the future. However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be Jaguar crossovers. The I-Pace is successful and moving forward, there could be more such low-slung, unconventional crossover models from the Jaguar brand.

X Concept side with long bonnet
Jaguar electric cars will not follow the trend of short bonnets as it diminishes the exuberance of the design, as per McGovern, who spoke to Autocar UK magazine. Pictured is the Genesis X concept, a similar example. Image: Hyundai Motor Group

Jaguar Land Rover has heightened the emphasis on the design aspect since Bollore joined the company as its CEO in 2020. McGovern was promoted to be a part of the Board of Management (as the Chief Creative Officer) in February 2021 so that design can be an integral part of key decisions at the top-most level. “Exceptional desirability” is how JLR should differentiate itself from its competitors in Bollore’s view, McGovern told Autocar UK magazine in a recent interview. Obviously, the design aspect would be central to “exceptional desirability” for a luxury car.

Further in the interview, McGovern hinted that the “incredibly desirable” Jaguar crossover and other future Jaguars would not feature a cab-forward design that is becoming typical of bespoke EVs. He suggested that keeping the bonnet long in a signature Jaguar style is more important than freeing up some extra space in the cabin.

Jaguar Land Rover Reimagine platforms MLA EMA BEV
A bespoke platform will underpin all future Jaguar EVs, one that is likely to be developed in-house. Image Source: Jaguar Land Rover

During the Q&A session on its Investor Day this year (February 26, 2021), an analyst asked Jaguar Land Rover management if we will still see Jaguar crossovers when the new strategy takes effect. Bollore suggested that the company is open to all enticing ideas McGovern and his team pitches. “We have given the freedom to Gerry and his team to propose to us extraordinary vehicles,” Bollore said. Adding to Bollore, McGovern said:

It’s fantastic being a designer in this company because you know there’s so much freedom, but yeah the SUV is a generic term. And I think one of the opportunities, as Thierry said (is) we’re looking at different. You know, it could be a four-door coupe sedan, it could be some sort of SUV-derived, incredibly desirable product. It might be that we create a niche category that doesn’t exist. We’ve done that before at Land Rover (with the Range Rover Evoque), so why can’t we do it at Jaguar? So, that’s the beauty of the process we are going through at the moment. So, watch this space.

Gerry McGovern, Chief Creative Officer, Jaguar Land Rover

With the Reimagine strategy, Jaguar is going back to the drawing board to work on more emotional and aspirational models that make a bold statement and stand out as truly unique in front of generic SUVs. By the mid-decade, JLR aims to make Jaguar an EV-only brand. Future Jaguar EVs, including the dramatic electric crossover McGovern hinted, will sit on an exclusive platform. To execute the Reimagine strategy, JLR will invest £2.5 billion (approx. $3.5 billion) annually.

Proposed “jaw-dropping” Jaguar electric crossover will ride on a new platform

JLR was hunting for a platform partner for new Jaguars, and on the decision to go for a partnership for Jaguar (EVs), Bollore explained:

It’s a matter of scale, it’s a matter of speed to go to market. And that’s the reason why we are opening this possibility to partner. It’s a design-led process that we have launched, the top priority is to make it such that Gerry (McGovern) and his team can propose to us the most dramatic designs that we expect to have, and that we need of course, and we’re confident of having, thanks to intense work that is happening at the moment in design.

We have not yet seen and chosen those designs and as such I want to say that the choice of the platform has to respect the proportions of the design which are going to be proposed to us. It’s quite a unique process to a certain extent that we are performing, that’s why we are open to as well to partnership and we are discussing with a selection of actors, but we remain extremely confident that if needed we will do it internally.

Thierry Bollore, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover

McGovern said that if Jaguar was not satisfied with the options on the market, it would develop one:

Thierry understands very well what the prerequisites of great design are, and it begins with volume and proportions, and clearly a Jaguar will have quite significantly different volume and proportions from our Land Rover products. Therefore we need to look at what the opportunities out there are in terms of architectures, that we could use or refine to give us a type of stunning, jaw-dropping Jaguars I’m talking about. It may be that we actually we develop a platform internally to deliver, but as Thierry said, it has to be design-led because there is no point to do this until these products are drop-dead gorgeous.

Gerry McGovern, Chief Creative Officer, Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar pauses new launches

Jaguar is entering a hibernation phase until 2025 for all-new launches, says a report from Le Monde. While existing cars should continue receiving refreshments and new trims, there’ll be no new models between now and 2025. Jaguar is taking a step back only to make a big jump when the time comes, but in the ever-so-increasing competition in the luxury market, you risk being forgotten by not releasing new products for years on end.

Every new Jaguar launch after the I-Pace in 2018 was a refresh of an existing car, and launches such as the Jaguar J-Pace and the next-gen XJ were cancelled due to brand repositioning under the Reimagine strategy. Hop-skipping from ICE models to 100% EVs sounds exciting, but if the transition isn’t managed properly, it could be detrimental to the Jaguar’s sales, which is well behind the German brands. In 2020, Jaguar sold some 90,000 cars, as opposed to the original target of 200,000 cars.

Featured Image Source: Jaguar Land Rover