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I-Pace electric SUV to change Jaguar brand perceptions

Leading the charge: The forthcoming I-Pace is set to change the way people view the Jaguar brand when it arrives in October.

Jaguar shedding old, stuffy image thanks to models such as I-Pace and E-Pace SUVs

Jaguar logo29 Mar 2018

By ROBBIE WALLIS

JAGUAR is in the process of distancing itself from a reputation of producing big sedans and sportscars aimed predominantly at old, wealthy men, through new products such as the I-Pace electric SUV and E-Pace small SUV that land in Australia this year.

In particular the I-Pace, Jaguar’s first all-electric model, represents the change the British manufacturer is undergoing to modernise its brand image and bring it into the 21st century, which will also involve introducing electrification across every model line from 2020.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the E-Pace small SUV in Kingscliff, NSW, Jaguar Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner said the I-Pace has given the brand cutting-edge publicity that it has not seen for a long time.

“You go from Jaguar doing some interesting stuff, F-Pace, E-Pace, that’s all cool – we’re becoming more relevant from a traditional product point of view by bringing SUVs into the space,” he said.

“But all of a sudden we drop this I-Pace electric vehicle out there which looks great, looks like a Jaguar, doesn’t look odd, it’s a full EV, it’s obviously got great performance and all the other bits and pieces, but all of a sudden now we’re being mentioned in head-for-head discussions with arguably the most progressively thought of automotive brand in Tesla.

“So the conversation has gone from big, expensive sedans and sportscars for guys to aggressive electrification, new technology etcetera, Tesla/Jaguar, and all of a sudden perceptions start to change very quickly.”

Mr Wiesner said the interest the I-Pace has generated from fans and prospective buyers has been encouraging, and that the brand is now at the forefront of the electrification discussion.

“The future is around electrification, the early investments around I-Pace are very much about developing the discussion around the brand and what the brand stands for,” he said.

“So we’ve seen that, the amount of noise, the amount of KMIs (key market indicators), we’re already taking orders on I-Pace and that is fantastic and happening earlier than I thought because I still would have thought that there would be more people wanting to touch and feel and poke and prod.

“But the early adopters who were looking at Teslas and other things are going ‘that’s what I want’, they know the pricing, we’ve gone out and done the pricing so it’s very transparent, we’re already seeing commitment which is fantastic.”

The I-Pace lands in Australia in October priced from $119,000 plus on-roads, and packs a potent 294kW/696Nm battery-electric powertrain, which rockets the SUV from standstill to 100km.h in 4.8 seconds.

Jaguar has used the space savings of an EV powertrain to package the I-Pace more efficiently, by implementing a shorter bonnet and maximising interior and cargo space, shown by its 10.5-litre centre storage compartment and 656L boot, which expands to 1453L with the rear seats folded.

The E-Pace small SUV, released officially this week, is also helping to attract a new demographic of buyer to the Jaguar brand, namely younger, female buyers.

It is also tipped to be the brand’s best-selling model, which will help the car-maker gain more market relevance as the sedan market, where Jaguar has historically played, diminishes in popularity.

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