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Jaguar hints at future models

Fire trail: Jaguar's F-Type SVR will follow the Range Rover Sport SVR and Range Rover SVAutobiography to Australia, but more skunkworks vehicles are on their way.

More hot SVO Jaguars on the way, small SUV under the microscope

10 Feb 2016

WITH a growing portfolio and local audience to match, Jaguar is carefully considering the next models to add to the Australian market, but while the exact strategy is still being determined, more Special Vehicle Operations products and a small SUV are the most likely candidates.

The British car-maker's first SUV – the F-Pace – is due to arrive in the third quarter of this year but given Australia's demand for crossovers of all shapes and sizes, Jaguar says there is “another opportunity” alongside its sister-branded Range Rover Evoque.

Australia also has a thirst for the high-performance variants and Jaguar says it will oblige local demand here too, with more vehicles on the way from its recently established Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) facility.

Speaking at the launch of the all-new Jaguar XF sedan range, Jaguar Land Rover Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner told GoAuto that Jaguar's equivalent of Mercedes-AMG would resonate well with the Australian market.

“Benz have done an outstanding job with AMG and when you look at that success, products like SVR have the propensity for this market to pick those things up – we will be successful with that,” he said.

“Everything is on the table. There are plenty of things for the guys in the UK to work through. Which way do you go with XE, where do you go with XF, F-Pace is coming how do you treat that?“There's a lot of work going on in that space at the moment given now that we've got SVO, whereas previously it didn't exist. The role of what SVO is in the organisation is changing.

Mr Wiesner did not elaborate on specific model details but said a feisty R version of the freshly launched XF “may well” be offered in the future as it was in the previous generation, while its smaller XE sibling was also under consideration for SVO treatment.

“Nothing is decided yet but there is a lot of work going on to decide what that might mean for XF, XE and other products coming down the line.”

Both XF and XE ranges are currently headlined by S variants, leaving room in the company's nomenclature system for both XER and XFR versions, and when asked if JLR would take an XFR if it were to be made available, Mr Wiesner replied “absolutely.”

JLR's SVO facility has only been in operation since the end of 2014, but two variants have already made it to Australia, starting with 5.0-litre supercharged Range Rover Sport SVR.

“We are getting about ten a month in the production allocation and we are selling everything we can get. This market loves that type of thing,” said Mr Wiesner.

After the first SVR came the even more exclusive Range Rover Autobiography-based SVAutobiography.

“There are about seven or eight on their way here. That shows that you don't just sell those kind of cars in the UAE and China. We do have a desire to get our hands on those kind of products here.”

While Australia clearly has a demand for high-end large SUVs, Mr Wiesner also indicated that the company is considering tapping into the booming smaller end of the crossover market to offer a Jaguar-branded vehicle alongside its current smallest offering.

“There is certainly a movement away from passenger cars. SUVs are more practical, they are getting lighter, they have smarter drivetrains, they're more fuel-efficient, also more dynamic and nicer to drive.

“Look at the success of Evoke. It has effectively played that role for us so you would certainly say there is another opportunity for us there to do something else with that space in time.”

With larger and more established portfolios, Audi, BMW and Mercedes are known for slotting niche models in the narrow gaps between segments, and Mr Wiesner said there is no harm in the practice as long as the brand's principles are not undermined.

“As long as you do not erode the good work that you have done as a brand, as long as it dials up all of the things that stand for what Jaguar is, then that's fine.

“Big, small, whatever it might be, but a Jaguar today must go, steer well, be very dynamic and sporty in every aspect, whether it's an SUV, a sedan, a wagon, a small car, it has to have all of those things so that people say 'that's a Jaguar' unmistakably.

“Some of the things (models) in the past with other brands have made no sense and have gone against every absolute core element of what that brand wants to stand for, and that's just dumb.”

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