Why Aren’t Jaguars More Popular?

Sad But True, Jaguar is Not What it Used to be

Ofer Levin GTI
Jul 3 · 4 min read

Jaguar has a long history of producing classy cars with great performance. The kind of cars that politicians and wealthy businessmen use as comfortable status symbols. Jaguar uses nothing but the best quality materials to produce their vehicles with uncompromising style and luxury. Over the years, it has evolved into one of the most renowned, if understated, manufacturers of all time.

And yet, until recently, Jaguar sold fewer than 50 cars a day in the United States. Some say it has to do with where the brand fits (or doesn’t). While most other brands are serving a broader market, I’m not exactly sure where Jaguar wants to be when it comes to non-sporty models.

Jaguar E-Type by Kev Haworth Photography

Family Car, Old Man Car or Hipster Babe Magnet?

Jaguar can’t really be aimed at the family market. Until recently, they didn’t even have an SUV for sale. My hipster cousin drives an old Jag which made me think whether that’s the market now. Just like hipsters are seen wearing designer clothes that look like thrift shop specials, it’s become a thing to drive around in interesting ‘old’ cars. Because of its relative obscurity these days, Jaguars fit the bill. Unless they have an older relative who is a fan of the brand, younger generations simply don’t know Jaguar’s reputation of timeless elegance and exclusivity. Does this make Jaguar a hipster car? Not really. And it’s not bringing in the sales.

Then there’s the older generation of people who value Jaguar’s history of high-maintenance extravagance. But they also happen to be the same people who believe in fixing things instead of replacing them, which means they’re hardly the type to upgrade every time a new model comes out. Jaguar is certainly an enduring brand. But again, it’s not selling that many new Jaguars.

Jaguar’s Been Slumping a While Now

When Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors, I wasn’t surprised. Jaguar had been nosediving for a while and Ford has made mostly good decisions over the years — they introduced SUVs in the 1990s already! So the fact that they sold these brands for less than half of what they paid for them is not only kind of sad, it also says a lot about Jaguar as a brand. I’ve never been a huge fan of Land Rover so that’s okay in my books, but Jaguar is a different story.

Jaguar has manufactured some of the most progressive, remarkable, and attractive cars over the years, especially their sports cars like the old XJS and of course the XJ220, which was arguably the first hypercar in the world — and probably set the tone for the Bugatti Veyron and the McLaren F1. One of the first dinky cars I owned was a gorgeous white E-Type with red trim, even Enzo Ferrari once said it’s the most beautiful car he’s ever seen. Later I discovered the extraordinary design wasn’t all the 3.8-liter straight six offered and realized that Jaguars are amazing.

They’re Also Still Progressive

Last year it was confirmed that the E-Type Zero, which runs on electricity, will go on sale — marking Jaguar’s entry into the zero-emission vehicle market. And since then, they’ve also introduced an all-electric performance SUV, the I-Pace (even more reason for hipsters to love them!) With electric cars and SUV options on the books, Jaguar has proven that they are still the progressive company we’ve come to know and love.

What’s the Problem Then?

While most brands allow the market to dictate their new releases and pricing, Jaguar prices still begin around 20k higher than other luxury brands like Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW and Lexus. As always, Jaguar does have a superb line-up, but there just aren’t enough luxury car buyers out there to go around and affordability is important. Then there’s the reputation of unreliability Jaguar just can’t seem to shake.

The SUV Saved the Day (For Now)

Thankfully, Jaguar launched its first-ever SUV, the F-Pace and it’s much better looking than comparable SUVs out there. I hear it’s also surprisingly fun to drive, it’s compact but comfortable (except for the backseat) and has so far had great reviews. This release has more than doubled sales for the brand in the US shooting it to a 12-year high. The F-Pace is, however, far from the iconic cars this brand has produced over the years and begs the question, ‘Is this enough to save the Jaguar from fading into complete obscurity? Or is it a matter of too little, too late?’

Only Time Will Tell

Maybe the brand is depressed and just not bothered anymore. Or perhaps Jaguar thinks it’s too suave to take a more humble approach, after all, it’s always been about exclusivity to them. Either way, it’s a huge pity to watch what used to be a stunning brand take such a dive. Maybe the solution is for their hipster kids to talk the old fogies into letting go of their environmentally un-friendly old cars and investing in an I-Pace.

Ofer Levin GTI

Written by

Ofer Levin GTI — Experiencing Cars and Engines. Welcome! I am Ofer Levin (aka GTI), and this is where you can read about things that matter to me.

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