Ditching Internal Combustion Is Jaguar's Best Hope For Long-Term Survival

Jaguar is sitting at the windy end of a perfect storm of problems, and a rapid switch to a range purely made of EVs could be the only way to secure the brand’s long-term future
Ditching Internal Combustion Is Jaguar's Best Hope For Long-Term Survival

Speculation has emerged that Jaguar could drop every last one of its internal combustion engines from its range in less than 10 years, as part of a wholesale move to electric propulsion. Slice it any way you like; that timescale is a big deal. Hurrying may also be Jaguar’s best chance to save itself from a present that hasn’t quite turned out the way it wanted.

The British brand makes lovely cars. They’re technologically advanced, generally enjoyable to drive and they look great. In theory it’s a winning formula, but sales are still comparatively low when stacked against any of its big three German adversaries. The potential reasons for that are several.

The Jaguar XF saloon and Sportbrake look handsome, but they're not selling in big numbers
The Jaguar XF saloon and Sportbrake look handsome, but they're not selling…

Firstly, Jaguar had heavily targeted the business driver; the rep who spends 40,000 miles a year pounding up and down motorways. It’s a sensible business decision to drive sales volume. This company car user-chooser has traditionally preferred saloons. Diesel ones. As such Jaguar has spent a fortune investing in its bread-and-butter saloon ranges, the XE and XF, only to find its buyers’ collective taste buds wandering deep into the fields of jacked-up hatchbacks and SUVs.

Likewise the company threw many, many English pounds at its Ingenium four-cylinder diesel range. The development programme was supposed to be the heart of Jaguar’s cutting-edge, low-emission assault on the Germans for generations to come… but then Dieselgate happened. The Volkswagen Group-centred disaster for diesel has seen derve sales plummet across Europe, Jaguar’s main market for diesel cars.

Demand for saloons like the Jaguar XE is falling
Demand for saloons like the Jaguar XE is falling

Sure, the company has covered some bases with a new Ingenium four-cylinder petrol engine and the F-Pace SUV, which is now becoming a common sight in the UK, but key pillars of Jaguar’s business model have been swept out from under it. To add insult to injury, much of the media who have driven the Ingenium 2.0-litre petrol engine say it isn’t all that great versus the other options out there. A missed opportunity, perhaps.

The Jaguar I-Pace, on the other hand, seems to have made half the automotive world rather excited. It’s a blend of SUV-inspired ride height and coupe styling that both makes it a desirable thing to look at and hides its genuinely massive size incredibly well. Here’s a tweet featuring an I-Pace dwarfing a Tesla Model S – itself a car not exactly known for its smallness.

Speaking of identity, Jaguar has been ebbing into and out of the same crisis for decades. From its financially ruinous attempts to build a V12 GT car that turned into the flimsy XJS, to the disastrous attempt to reinvent itself with the XJ220 just as the market turned against the idea, to the retro-inspired but point-missing S-Type and Mondeo-based X-Type, to the wholesale reinvention of the brand under the penmanship of Sir Ian Callum, and now this… Jaguar simply hasn’t been able to build enduring success yet.

If it turns out to be true, this latest move signals another galactic-scale cutting of the company’s losses and a tacit admission that its grand 21st Century plans, which have produced many likeable and memorable cars with (Ford-designed) six and eight-cylinder engines, have ultimately failed to grow the business enough. Jaguar’s four-cylinder options just haven’t been good enough to tempt a public that is also moving away from saloons just after the English car maker has poured a tonne of money into them. It’s a perfect storm from within which Jaguar needs to take extreme action if it wants to escape and prosper.

Ditching Internal Combustion Is Jaguar's Best Hope For Long-Term Survival

That’s why drawing a line under any future new engine programmes is the right thing to do. Sure, we adore many of Jaguar’s Ford-based V6s and V8s and we’ll miss them like hell, but with JLR’s engine contract with the Blue Oval ending in 2020, they’re going anyway, and going very soon. Where that leaves the F-Type for the remainder of its life, we’re not sure.

The future of motoring is a lot quieter. The sooner Jaguar moves to take ownership of that, maybe even managing to get ahead of its three German nemeses if buying trends suddenly swing towards electric cars before 2030, the more chance that it will emerge as a leader in the new age.


Blade noir

I just hope they make decent EVs.

10/14/2018 - 10:35 |
10 | 2

the i-pace looks super promising, and that’s the first one.

10/14/2018 - 22:02 |
1 | 1

This would be a terrible decision for Jaguar. The fact is, there’s not a lot of people right now who want an EV, and its impossible to predict if/ when people will want EV’s.

Given that most of Jaguars customers are business drivers who drive on the motorways for hours, EV range will be an issue, and these people will just go and buy something German instead. I don’t think its enough to kill the brand (I certainly hope not), but Jaguar will struggle with only having EV’s in its range.

10/14/2018 - 10:55 |
3 | 7
Tomislav Celić

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

STRONGLY disagree with this.

Current tech gives us 280 miles with a chrage time around 45 minutes. Noone needs more range to recharge time ratio. You can’t drive for more than 4 hours without taking a break. A small lunch break is 45 minutes. Hell waiting for your meal to get served it half an hour alone.

PLUS tons of people want EVs, but rearly anyone can afford it, if they made it within realms of their sedans, people would fight for them.

10/14/2018 - 12:38 |
6 | 1
Martin Burns

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Here you go again… just like yesterday…

Mate, I really hate to tell you this but a LOT of folks want EVs.

“The fact is, there’s not a lot of people right now who want an EV”

That is a fact is it? Prove that, back it up somehow. Just like yesterday, you’re just stating opinions..

10/14/2018 - 13:21 |
4 | 1

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Most people who buy a Jag don’t get it for the roaring engine or for long distance commuting. They choose it because it is a desirable, luxurious vehicle which is more interesting than the typical German 3. I can tell you that most of them will either not care, or actually prefer an electrically powered vehicle.

The vast majority of people never drive their vehicle for hours on end. Just 50km of electric range might not sound like much, but 80% of people who live in cities wont ever need more. At least 300 km or so of range is normal now for EV’s, as is regaining most of that in 30-45 mins of charging. Jag isnt going to stop selling IC powered cars overnight, and it’s current stance is better preparing it for the future.

10/14/2018 - 13:41 |
2 | 1

Its sad to see CT encouraging a car manufacturer to make cars for Greenpeace instead of enthusiasts. This sort of low-quality articles are why I no longer visit the Top Gear website.

10/14/2018 - 10:59 |
5 | 13
Chewbacca_buddy (McLaren squad)(VW GTI Clubsport)(McLaren 60

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

It’s for the better though because eventually they are probably going to be forced to whether they want to or not

10/14/2018 - 11:38 |
3 | 2
TurboToddler (Straight-five)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Because objectivity should be ditched for blind fanboyism, sure

10/14/2018 - 12:02 |
9 | 3
Martin Burns

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Mate are you mad? An article written about a major automaker shaking up their model is ABSOLUTELY newsworthy. Just because YOU don’t like electric cars doesn’t mean they are bad and doesn’t mean they aren’t automobiles. That is something you’re gunna need to live with otherwise more and more you’re gunna turn your nose up, and more and more you’re just gunna come off as an arrogant punk.

You use the word Enthusiasts, as if that means “internal combustion purists” but can an EV driver not be a driving enthusiast?

Tell you what buddy, take your saltiness over to Top Gear and we wont miss you.

10/14/2018 - 13:36 |
10 | 2

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

If you dont see the pros of performance electric cars then you arent a real car enthusiast

10/14/2018 - 13:44 |
3 | 2
Olds Alero

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Well, firstly, not everyone on Earth is a car enthusiasts. In fact, I’d say the majority of people are just regular folks who want a good form of transportation that can take them from A to B. As a result, the big priority for manufacturers is making just that. Also, a lot more people want EVs than you seem to think, as they have several benefits, including being a little easier on the ozone layer and whatnot.

Secondly, if you disagree with the message of an opinion article, that doesn’t instantly make it “low quality.”

10/16/2018 - 21:28 |
1 | 0

I’m fine with this

10/14/2018 - 12:17 |
4 | 1

This article really makes me feel sad for Jaguar, but at least they have what sounds like a solid plan of action

10/14/2018 - 12:39 |
1 | 1

Feel happy for Jaguar, by adopting early they will reap the most benefits! They are no longer just unreliable cars for rich retirees!

10/14/2018 - 15:33 |
2 | 2
Tomislav Celić

If the rest of their lineup will be as amazing as the I-pace, I see nothing wrong with it

I-type… Oh I’m getting chills…

10/14/2018 - 12:39 |
10 | 2

If their range ends up being as “amazing” as the I-Pace, they’re in trouble. Better than a Tesla, but still a bad way to spend £60k IMO.

Also, if they do make an electric sports car, they’d better call it E-Type.

10/14/2018 - 12:45 |
2 | 1

Jaguar is nearly to close their doors at ic engines , porsche has completely removed diesels from their lineup … More than an ecological battle looks like a witch hunt for me , i live in europe , and more precisely in southern italy … Here we have a loooooot of diesel e-pace, f-pace , XE and XJ and that’s not a joke when i say a lot . Same goes for diesel porsches , if i drive for no more than 10 km i can count to you no less than 10 or 11 macan , cayenne and panamera . But i think that this trend is valid for almost every part of center / southern europe not just my area. And the answer is so simple : they’re good engines . No other reasons , they’re powerful , torquey and they have low consumption . That’s all. There’s a diesel for every society class in Europe , small 3 and 4 cylinders for low/middle class , and 6 or even some 8 cylinders from who want to have a luxury car but to burn diesel , too . But now the rules are changing so fast that automakers needs to change their plans equally fast by taking radical decisions on the current model’s lineups . Numbers are numbers , and Porsche without diesel can sell just a few 911s and some cayman/ boxster in my country but it’s a minimal part when confronting the actual sales to what Porsche will sell in the near future without their oil burners . We don’t have infrastructures for EV and yep , there are some plans to adequate the cities but they require time , a lot of time … Time in which people can’t buy a diesel because are out of production and can’t buy EV or hybrids because out of your garage charging your car is obviously not as easy as doing a simple refuelling … That ‘s just my (long , sorry ) personal thought on what my eyes are seeing and in my hearth i really hope to be wrong , that’s all .

10/14/2018 - 13:00 |
4 | 0
Ben Ireland

As I said on the last Jaguar EV post, These negative comments illustrate partly why this site is driving into the ground. They are so ignorant, full of uneducated comments and backwards thinking/opinions. The first thing I thought when I saw this was ‘that’s absolutely great news!’ Now this isn’t just because I’m a tree-hugging Environmental Scientist, although that is true. This is great news a. From an economics standpoint, because being an early adopter of ‘future’ tech will almost always yield financial success and elevate your prestige, and b. Because it’s opening a gateway for new and very exciting tech, and not just snubbing it and living in denial of the inevitability that it will one day become the norm! When did the automotive community stop getting excited by new speed and technology, and start looking back at dated, flawed ideas? It makes no sense to me personally

10/14/2018 - 13:31 |
34 | 10


But hey if its not a 1990s Sports car with a manual,

It’s crap

10/14/2018 - 15:21 |
9 | 2

faster car is better. But hey, getting excited about SUVs is depressing…

10/14/2018 - 17:00 |
5 | 0

Something to do with souls or something

10/14/2018 - 18:33 |
0 | 0

Why is everyone who disagrees with that opionion uneducated? From an economics standpoint it really depends how the EV market develops in the coming years. Many people cant have EVs because there is no place to charge them and charging take pretty long still. Tesla had a huge head start in that field, where is the financial success story there?
In my opinion one of the huge selling points for Jaguars throughout the years was the emotion and the design the cars had/have. The F-Type was a huge success, not because its good value for the money or because its much faster than its competition, but because of said emotion it managed to carry. And the amazing engine sound definetly played a big role in that as well.
Now, EVs maybe great as commuter or luxury cars, but for sportscars i dont really see the point. The batteries add a ton of weight and tend to overheat, the range isnt great and recharging takes a long time. You have no engine sound and even less interaction with the car (people may dislike DCTs, but at least you can still change your gears manually there), i dont mind the I Pace, but i think it would be a big mistake for Jaguar if they do decide to make the entire range full electric.

10/14/2018 - 18:57 |
19 | 1

Agreed. The car community needs to take a big long hard look at itself. We can’t just keep burning dinosaur juice and not expect anything bad to happen. And excellent point from an economics standpoint - these times of change could be the saving grace for marques that have perhaps lost their way a little.

10/14/2018 - 20:01 |
5 | 2

I’m sad to read this,but if this is going to help Jaguar secure its long-term survival,let it be.But one thing disturbs me and that is why everyone buys a SUV?

10/14/2018 - 16:31 |
1 | 0
White Comet

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

  1. people are getting fat. they need more room
  2. status symbol
  3. false sense of safety by sitting higher
  4. wrong calculation of how much items they want to carry with them everyday
  5. buyers always think of that one single vacation of an entire whole year when they might need an SUV
  6. Buyers feel like they can suddenly becomes adults by just having an SUV
10/14/2018 - 16:57 |
3 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

We went in favor of the X5 at the time, because of all-wheel drive in the winter and ground clearance for going into the forest.

10/14/2018 - 19:26 |
1 | 0
White Comet

Good that at least Jaguars will survive the economic change. We don’t want any car manufacturer to die.
You have to accept that the 90s era is already gone. Almost 90% of the people I talk to, they just want to “appear” from point A to point B. Driving has become more or less a chore to the population majority. The driving enthusiast has been shrinking significantly.

10/14/2018 - 17:17 |
3 | 2



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