Exclusive: Jaguar India ends local production of XE sedan – Will India become an SUV-only market for Jag?

Despite sales of luxury cars in India rebounding after the sharp dip caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, things aren’t quite as rosy for every luxury brand in the country. Jaguar India – which is part of the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) conglomerate – has struggled to find buyers for its bread-and-butter models in recent years, and has now ended local production of its most affordable model, the Jaguar XE, with uncertainty surrounding the future of the sedan in our market.

Multiple sources have confirmed to Tech2 that local assembly of the Jaguar XE at the company’s facility in Pimpri, Pune, was stopped a while ago. Jaguar is no longer producing both sedans in its portfolio – the XE and the XF – in India, and while the XF will continue to be offered as a full import, it's unclear if the XE will still be available for purchase in the country. While it continues to be listed on Jaguar India’s website, it is no longer available on the company’s purchase portal, and most dealers have no new XEs in stock.

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A company source told Tech2 Jaguar may continue to offer the XE as a completely-built-up (CBU) model, but at a significantly higher price somewhere between Rs 60-65 lakh (ex-showroom). At the time of filing this story, Jaguar India was yet to respond to Tech2’s request for comment on the stopping of local production of the XE sedan.

Is Jaguar India’s future one without sedans?

A carmaker well known for the 'Grace, space, pace' tagline generally associated with its sedans, Jaguar appears to be shifting away from the three-box body style entirely as markets worldwide increasingly prefer SUVs over any other type of vehicle. The Jaguar XE has struggled to take off globally since its introduction many years ago, and the Jaguar XF is no longer considered to be in the same league as its chief rivals – the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Volvo S90.

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The XE has lagged considerably in several departments, and JLR acknowledged that Jaguar’s smallest sedan was the only model in the group’s entire line-up to not witness a year-on-year increase in sales in the first quarter of 2021. To prop up sales, Jaguar even introduced price cuts – ranging from 16 to 18 percent – for the XE and XF in Europe towards the end of 2020, but even that didn't prove to be enough, with European sales of the XE totalling a lowly 3,780 units last year, and plummeting to a dismal 67 units in the month of August.

In the US, the Jaguar XE has already been discontinued, and the XF is now the brand’s only sedan in that market. Jaguar is likely to follow suit in other countries, and with the all-electric successor to the Jaguar XJ flagship sedan reportedly cancelled, the XF will likely be the only Jaguar sedan worldwide until new additions to the line-up arrive. It’s understood that Jaguar has not lined up direct replacements for the XE and XF sedans, but may evaluate smaller vehicles – including those with a pure-electric powertrain – going forward.

The facelifted Jaguar XF is a full import, and is significantly pricier than its rivals. Image: Jaguar

As it stands, Jaguar’s sedan line-up is staring at a bleak future. The fully-imported 2021 Jaguar XF is priced between Rs 71.60 lakh to Rs 76 lakh (ex-showroom), a price at which it’s unjustifiably more expensive than the incredibly popular Mercedes-Benz E-Class, as well as the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Volvo S90. If Jaguar does bring the XE back to India in CBU form, at its expected price of Rs 60-65 lakh (ex-showroom), it will be priced out of the market, with established rivals such as the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 available at substantially lower prices.

The absence of volume sellers in the Jaguar line-up will certainly hurt the company’s sales figures in India, with the only models left in its portfolio being the Jaguar F-Pace SUV (currently the only Jaguar model to be produced locally), the Jaguar I-Pace electric crossover and the Jaguar F-Type sportscar. Being full imports, the latter two are prohibitively expensive and also cater to a niche buyer base.

With the smaller Jaguar E-Pace unlikely to be launched here, it appears that Jaguar’s future in the country will be devoid of volume products and sedans at least for the foreseeable future, and that sister brand Land Rover’s SUVs will continue to steer the JLR ship in India. Providing a boost to the company’s fortunes will be the just-revealed all-new Range Rover SUV, which is set to be launched in India in 2022.



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