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Top designer sketches Jaguar future

Boot camp: Australia wasn't treated to the previous XF wagon, but Jaguar's top designer insists we will get the new version – if it is built.

Wagons and even more SUVs on the cards for Jaguar’s future, says Ian Callum

9 Apr 2015


JAGUAR is working on a number of top-secret “disruptive” models that are likely to continue breaching new markets, following in the pioneering footsteps of its forthcoming F-Pace luxury SUV.

Details of exactly which segments will be targeted are thin on the ground, but the company has offered a glimpse at the New York International Auto Show where Jaguar design director Ian Callum told Australian media that wagons and more SUVs were possible.

Jaguar's all-new XF was unveiled at New York in sedan guise, but Mr Callum said, unlike the previous-generation XF wagon, he would “insist” that a Sportbrake version of the 2015 XF would be sent to Australia if it was produced.

“I love wagons,” he said “We are investigating a wagon. If we were to do one, I would insist you guys get it.”

If it were to eventuate, Mr Callum said it, like all the snarling-cat cars, would have to be sporty – even if that meant sacrificing some elements of practicality.

“Jag has to take liberties sometimes,” he noted. “It has to go and do something that may not be entirely practical. It's important that a Sportbrake or a wagon or an estate has to be as stylish as it can be.

“To go into a super-practical load-carrier is not what we are there for. It's not our DNA. If we were to do one, it would be sporty.”

Jaguar has already confirmed that its F-Pace foray into the SUV market will break cover at the Frankfurt motor show in September, but Mr Callum said there were possibilities for other SUVs, depending on the definition.

“Maybe,” he said. “It depends what you qualify as an SUV. There's a lot of scope.

“Our job is to instigate and disrupt. You have a generic business and cycle plan which is based on the known, and my job is to continue with those when we agree to do them as products, but also to come up with ideas all the time.

“We've got two or three in the pipeline, which are quite exciting and will surprise people. They are disruptive.”

But when asked if a new SUV entrant might offer seven seats or Land Rover-rivaling off-road ability, Mr Callum replied “Categorically no. It's got to be sporty,” he said.

“It would be ridiculous to go and try to take on Range Rover. There's no point.

It holds that unique space. For Jaguar to go upmarket it has to sit in a place that the brand deserves, so it's very unlikely that we would ever go into that area.

“Price wise maybe, but not that kind of car.”

He acknowledged that Jaguar would have access to the required technology to give it an off-road edge, but underlined that Jaguar was a stand-alone brand in its own right.

“We are all one company,” he said. “It's in our favour that Land Rover and Range Rover do well. We just have to do things differently and with Jaguar, I've got permission to do things differently.”

The decision to pursue other crossovers partly depends on the reception of the company's first, but Mr Callum said he expects the F-Pace “will probably be the best-selling car we have ever built.”

Since his appointment to Jaguar in 1999, Mr Callum has overseen many company-shaping projects including the elegant F-Type and XK sportscars, and the designer explained how he set about a new styling direction to honour the company's first stylist, William Lyons.

“When I came to Jaguar what I did was get seven Jaguars, from 1945 through to the previous XJ and line them up,” he said. “They are all completely different, but I pointed out they are all exaggerated.

“That's what Lyons did, and that was his only philosophy. The irony was that the two cars at (each) end had 30 years between them and they looked the same.

I said - what are we doing wrong?“Don't underestimate the power of the designer. As I always tell my friends: I've got the clay model. It's empowering and you can sway the direction of the business simply by the fact that you hold the pencil.

“Of course there is a product letter and of course there is a cycle plan, but how that car manifests itself, so much of it is down to the design.”

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