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Jaguar gears up for XE assault

Claws out: Venturing into uncharted territory, the XE has a tough fight on its hands, but Jaguar says it has the credentials to succeed.

“Decent ambitions” for Jaguar's XE with lightweight tech, fresh styling and engines

21 Jul 2014

JAGUAR says that its forthcoming XE mid-sized sedan will target BMW's 3 Series with the same determination that its larger XF sibling has gone after 5 Series sales.

The British brand's local arm has sold 427 XFs so far this year, just 21 fewer than the popular BMW (448), which currently sits in second place behind the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (791), and Jaguar says that by offering a high-quality mid-size sedan, the XE could do the same.

When it arrives next year the XE will be a new option in the fiercely competitive luxury mid-sized segment, but with advanced build technology, a modern design and unique features, Jaguar is looking to steal sales from its predominantly German rivals.

Jaguar Australia brand manager Mark Eedle said that the Indian-owned British car-maker has “some pretty decent ambitions” for the XE and expects a lot of buyers to come from other brands.

“We see it as being a very credible alternative to the others in the segment.

“XF ended last year in third – and a solid third too. That car's done us a great job. A new engine, a repositioning and we saw sales go really well.

“Everything we do we learn from, so we are confident with our XE strategy – whether it be pricing and spec, whether it be design or technical. There is a lot of experience that has gone in to it.

“XE will be a conquest car as much as existing (Jaguar) owners, you look to get share from other brands.

“We're going into a segment where we have zero share and it has to come from somewhere. It either comes from growth in the segment or other people. I'd suggest it will be a bit of both.”

Jaguar says it exceeds the competition when it comes to technology, with lightweight construction resulting in greater fuel efficiency as well as helping improve dynamics of the car.

“It's the only all aluminium car in its segment – it's the first car off our intelligent aluminium architecture,” he said.

“It offers a number of unique things, one of which is the aluminium components that the others don't have, which brings a more sporting bias to it.

“I know we are going to offer a very competitive package, but also a very dynamic alternative.”

Jaguar also says its new model will have the looks to do battle in a segment where aesthetics matter to potential buyers.

Little has been seen of the final XE exterior design, but Mr Eedle said the Jaguar design team, lead by design director Ian Callum, has produced a car that has changed little from the previously released concept and teaser images.

“Not only does Callum know exactly what he's doing, but our manufacturing and engineering people then convert it to reality.

“It's one thing to draw a car but it's quite another to build it looking like that.”

Engines complete the mid-sized sports sedan recipe, with the F-Type's supercharged V6 and all-new Ingenium family of engines destined for the new model, including a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.

Jaguar's major engine factory in the UK is nearing completion, and by producing one of the powerplants itself, the car-maker has removed an element that could restrict supply of the all-important model.

“It's about taking complete control over a major element of your supply chain, which can only be good for your business,” said Mr Eedle.

“We don't talk sales numbers but obviously we are expecting a reasonable volume out of XE, which picks up Ingenium engines – so there's a huge lump of supply that we need to increase for.”

Initially the Ingenium engine will be produced in 2.0-litre form but more variants are expected as the new facility ramps-up.

The new model will be revealed in London on September 8 with the first XEs arriving on Australian turf next year, where it will go head to head with luxury offerings such as the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and Lexus IS.

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