Jaguar has been tossing around the idea of a crossover SUV since the C-X17 debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show. Given the production-ready look of the C-X17, it is obvious that it was less of a hey-look-what-we-can-do concept and more of a feedback study to see how potential buyers would react to an SUV from the big-cat brand.
When asked by AutoGuide about the upcoming SUV, Jaguar Land Rover North America marketing VP Kim McCullough said “[A] smaller crossover is an opportunity for the biggest growth. That’s the area that’s really exploding. Between that and the compact sedan segment, those are two big areas of white space for [Jaguar] that will provide the volume that’s so important as we look ahead.”
So why would Jaguar, a brand notorious for building sporty coupes and sedans, want to dive into the realm of SUVs? Well, money, of course. The compact SUV segment has grown roughly 20 percent so far this year, giving Jag plenty of reason to consider the move. This is particularly important when you consider Jaguar wants to push its global sales to 750,000 by 2020.
The company has a long way to go in order to achieve that goal, as it delivered 425,006 in 2013. However, the compact sedan market is growing by leaps and bounds as well, as it currently sits as a 12.3-percent increase over 2013. Jag’s new XE fits this growing niche rather well but it can’t pull off this growth by itself; it needs a crossover to fill the other white space in the automaker’s lineup.
The logical step for expansion is for Jaguar to develop a crossover based on the XE’s underpinnings. This would not only give the brand a crossover without huge development costs, but it can also use the XE’s popularity to cross-promote the higher-riding family hauler.