Jaguar Scraps Planned Electric XJ, Yet Vows to Go EV Only by 2025

Photo credit: KGP Photography - Car and Driver
Photo credit: KGP Photography - Car and Driver

From Car and Driver

  • Jaguar Land Rover has announced plans to have an electric version of every model it makes starting in 2030, in a strategy called Reimagine.

  • Jaguar itself, however, will kill off every internal-combustion vehicle only four years from now, becoming an all-EV brand by 2025.

  • The company had been close to rolling out an electric XJ (pictured above) but has now scrapped that model entirely.

Jaguar Land Rover has joined the rush of automakers committing to an electric future, one that will see the first Land Rover EV arrive as soon as 2024, and the British SUV brand is committing to offering a pure electric version of every model in the range as soon as 2030.

Yet the transformation for Jaguar is going to be considerably more radical. The brand’s entire range of combustion models is set to be axed as soon as 2025. From that point onward, Jaguar will become a solely electric brand, with models set to be built on what the company says is a new platform that won't be shared with Land Rover. The company has also confirmed there is no place for the forthcoming XJ sedan under this Reimagine strategy. The XJ has been scrapped despite being almost ready for market introduction—and despite being an EV. When questioned about the new strategy, JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré refused to promise that Jaguar will offer anything that could be described as a sports car beyond 2025. For a brand long associated with performance sedans, coupes, and roadsters, that marks a revolutionary change.

Photo credit: Jaguar Land Rover
Photo credit: Jaguar Land Rover

The official line on the XJ's cancellation was limited to a terse announcement that the car "does not fit with our vision for the reimagined brand." But Car and Driver managed to speak to a well-informed insider who says that the XJ's biggest problem was that "they [the company] didn't think they'd be able to sell enough of them" and that its combination of performance, range, and likely price point "just wasn't attractive when compared to the wider market." The XJ also seems to have fallen afoul of JLR's attempts to rationalize its production base: the Castle Bromwich plant that was to build it is set to be repurposed away from construction once the XE, XF, and F-type currently assembled there are phased out.

Bolloré refused to say how many models Jaguar will offer beyond 2025 but conceded that "the portfolio is going to be more compact." That is no surprise given the brand’s sliding sales. After a peak of 180,000 units following the launch of the F-Pace and E-Pace crossovers, these had slumped to just 102,000 globally last year. That figure was driven downward by the COVID-19 crisis but also split among six different models. That's barely more than the 93,000 across two model lines that Saab managed in the year before GM dumped it in 2010. Bolloré promised that the brand’s future will involve cars that "totally reimagine Jaguar and are absolutely unique." Yet, given current market trends, we'd be very surprised if that didn’t result in a lineup formed exclusively of crossover EVs.

Six Land Rover EVs on Sale by 2025

By contrast, Land Rover sold 323,000 vehicles last year, and the imbalance between the relative importance of the two brands for their parent company looks set to grow further. While Jaguar will use a single pure-EV architecture—which we are told is unrelated to the one that sits beneath the I-Pace—Land Rover will get two new platforms. The Modular Longitudinal Architecture will underpin larger models and will allow for both combustion and EV variants. The smaller Electric Modular Architecture will be primarily EV, but will also allow for electrified combustion engines.

Bolloré also confirmed that Land Rover's Defender, Discovery, and Range Rover families will all continue into this era of electrification, with the first fully electric Land Rover due in 2024 and six on sale by 2025. He predicted that 60 percent of the brand's global sales will be zero emission by 2030. Bolloré said that diesel will die by 2026 in Land Rover products. That's a big deal in the parts of the world where compression ignition makes up the vast majority of sales. He also confirmed a heavy investment in hydrogen fuel-cell technology, with test mules due to be running by the end of the year. JLR's deal with BMW to jointly develop electric powertrains for future models will continue. Doing all this will involve an investment that will be the equivalent of $3.5 billion a year.

So Land Rover's future looks pretty rosy, but Jaguar is set to undergo unprecedented change in its quest for relevance. We hope it works; it's certainly a more radical strategy than letting sales slide further, but it does mean that the canceled XJ is going to be one of automotive history's great might-have-beens.

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