Jaguar has just announced the reorganization of its business and new priorities. As other automakers have announced in recent years, Jaguar wants to become carbon-neutral by 2039 and generally just make its operation more sustainable; it will kill off some projects, invest in hydrogen fuel-cell technology and it plans to offer an all-electric version of all its major nameplates (for both Jag and Land Rover) by the end of the decade.
Buried deep somewhere in the press release is a single mention that the company is also going to kill off the Jaguar XJ fully-electric luxury sedan that had been in the works for several years (although the pandemic also affected plans to launch it). In fact, it was probably quite close to being signed off for production - it was expected to be revealed sometime this year and go on sale in 2022.
Well, now all those plans and all the work that went into the car have been flushed down the drain, but why? What was so bad about the car (an electric car designed from the ground-up to be electric, mind you) that they just decided to not launch it after so much development work went into it?
Gallery: Jaguar XJ Electric Sedan Spy Shots
The XJ is one of the manufacturer’s oldest and most prestigious nameplates, with over five decades of history behind it. The last XJ rolled off the production line in 2019 and at that point, it was announced that it would not get a direct replacement. But then Jaguar reconsidered the decision and began working on a fully-electric XJ to challenge the Mercedes-Benz EQS, BMW i7 and the Tesla Model S.
We received many photos from our spies showing that car undergoing testing and there was no indication that the project was going to be cancelled. This is quite unusual given the rich heritage of the XJ badge, especially since the new XJ was going only going to be sold as BEV, thus perfectly fitting in with Jaguar’s plan to electrify its entire lineup.
All the company said about this was that
Following a thorough technology review against the exponential change in the automotive industry, we concluded that the planned XJ replacement does not fit with our vision for a reimagined Jaguar brand. We have made the tough decision that it will not form part of the line-up, as the brand looks to realize its unique potential.
There must have been something horribly wrong with the model that they scrapped it just like that. Did it not have enough range? Was it too heavy? Was it bad to drive?
We will sadly never know, but I doubt it’s any of those things. Think about it - Jaguar’s first ground-up electric vehicle, the i-Pace, is actually a really good EV, with enough range, quirky but lovable styling and the kind of sporty driving experience that you expect from something bearing the Leaper badge.
So with the experience gained developing and selling the i-Pace, you would have expected Jaguar’s next full-EV to be even better. And it’s not like it wouldn’t have been popular - BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Genesis are just some of the automakers that will soon launch their own entrants into the large electric luxury sedan segment - they clearly did their market research and found there was demand for such a model, and Jaguar probably did too when it gave the electric XJ project the green light.
It may be that under its new CEO, Thierry Bolloré, Jaguar will focus more on SUVs and crossovers, and a sedan, no matter how much history it has behind it, has no place in a range of vehicle that will mostly be comprised of tall vehicles. The strange thing is the group has Land Rover for that and it could have kept the Jaguar brand more pure and untainted by the global SUV craze.
The thing is, this is not the first time Jaguar has just cancelled a project as it was nearing completion. Do you remember the C-X75 plug-in hybrid hypercar that was set to rival the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder and the McLaren P1? Well, that had a very similar fate, although it was a much lower volume vehicle than the XJ.
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Honestly, I am a disappointed that Jaguar, a brand that is so much about heritage, would just drop a nameplate like that, on the whim of a new CEO who doesn’t seem to care about the rich history. It’s a pity because if you’ve ever driven an XJ and compared it to its mainstream rival, then you know just how much better it is to drive than all of them; the XJ was never the best car in its class, but for some buyers it was the only option - this new electric XJ would have maintained that trait and offered the keen luxury sedan driver an alternative.
But hope is not completely lost. Maybe Jaguar is just ditching the nameplate and it will still launch a big electric sedan, but call it something else. It wouldn’t really make much sense not to use the XJ name, but a world where a big new Jaguar sedan exists is a better world than one where it doesn’t.