The mid-sized XE will remain Jaguar's smallest model for the rest of the decade, with Jaguar Australia confirming to TMR that there are no plans to introduce a more compact sedan or hatch until the early 2020s.
Rumours of a so-called Jaguar "XD" hatchback circulated last year following the arrival of the 3 Series-fighting Jaguar XE range, and Jaguar has been toying with the idea of a C-segment model at least as far back as 2003, when it exhibited the R-D6 concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
However, Jaguar Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner confirmed to TMR at the launch of the new XF that there are no plans to introduce a compact car - whether hatch or sedan - before 2020.
"Definitely not in this product cycle," he said to TMR, referring to the new range of alloy-platform Jaguars that began with the XE sedan in 2015.
"That trend toward small cars in premium brands is very strong and premium brands are doing well in that space.
"[Regarding smaller cars] there are some ideas that we’d like to see, and by no means what we see over this current product cycle to the end of this decade means we won't explore those ideas.
"There are a number of things that we’d love to see in the next cycle that will fill a few of those gaps."
But, Wiesner stressed, any new product, whether it's a compact crossover of a C-segment hatchback, would need to be true to the Jaguar brand:
"You still have to be genuine to what you are. If we do it, it has to be a proper Jaguar. It’s got to go hard, it’s got to have the same technical focus, it’s got to drive like a Jaguar and it’s got to look like a Jaguar should," he said.
"F-Type (below) has drawn the line as to what Jaguar stands for in regards to dynamics, design and performance. That has to be consistent in everything we do."
The present unavailability of a C-segment sized platform in Jaguar's engineering catalogue is another factor the company needs to consider, and while the brand's new iq[Al] architecture could theoretically scale down to the proportions needed for a small sedan or hatch, interior packaging may be compromised.
Adopting a transverse-engined platform from another manufacturer may be an answer, but at this stage there's no clarity on which option Jaguar's engineers would pursue.
"Can a FWD platform live up to that ethos?" Wiesner said,"I don’t know; is it right for Jaguar? That’s a very good question and that’s a decision for the guys in the UK to make."
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