Jaguar Land Rover has disclosed plans to review the production of their sports cars with the relaunch of the Jaguar XK, about four years after stopping production of the XK.
The firm’s Head of Product Strategy, Hanno Kirner, confirmed that that the automaker was working on a proposal for a whole family of sports cars.
The man overseeing product strategy for the next decade at Jaguar Land Rover was quoted by Autocar that the company remained committed to the sports car segment, despite the Jaguar E-Pace and F-Pace SUVs dominating the firm’s sales.
In 2017, the F-Pace accounted for two-fifths of all Jaguar sales, the report stated.
“The F-Type has been a huge success,” he said. “We love sports cars – and I use the plural quite deliberately. Whether that is delivered by a body variant or something else remains to be seen, but for now let’s just say that the body type is very important for us.”
Kirner’s comments echo those of Jaguar’s Head of Design, Ian Callum, who has often spoken of his personal desire to develop a family of sports cars.
Last year, Callum said that work on a re-envisaged XK had begun, saying, “I want a two-seater [the F-Type] and a 2+2. We’re working on something now. There’s nothing approved, but we instigate in design.”
Relying on Autocar, another auto journal, Motor1, in its report on the issue, stated, “Should a new XK see the light of day, it will allegedly be based on the next-gen F-Type due to come out as early as next year.
“The current F-Type actually uses updated underpinnings of the old XK and will benefit from revised hardware for its next iteration. The setup Jaguar’s engineers have been working on can be modified to support the creation of a new and roomier 2+2 model in the same vein as the grand tourer canned after the XKR Final Fifty Edition.”
It stated that both the F-Type and XK successors would utilise JRL’s crop of Ingenium four- and six-cylinder engines and were expected to spawn SVR versions sharing the supercharged 5.0-litre V8.
It, however, noted that it was unclear whether the reworked hardware would open up the possibility of a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
“One thing is sure – Jaguar sees a bright future up ahead for sports cars and will put money where its mouth is by investing in performance models,” it said.
According to Autocar, the new F-Type is expected to use a development of that architecture, which is believed to be flexible enough to be adapted back to a 2+2 layout.
“I love the idea of a flexible architecture that can give us anything,” said Kirner.
He also talked up the possibility of developing future platforms to be flexible enough to accept multiple powertrain types.
“I absolutely believe that there will be electric sports cars one day, but I also believe there may be a different step of combining the battery and an engine. At Jaguar, all I can say for now is that we will continue to invest in sports cars.”
With the launch in 2012, the F-Type was regarded as crucial to Jaguar re-establishing its credentials in the two-seat sports car market.
According to the auto reviewer, the F-Type was also seen as critical to underpinning Jaguar’s heritage as a sports car maker prior to it branching out into the booming SUV segment.
“With the market set to become ever more crowded, achieving differentiation by playing to authentic brand values is increasingly viewed as critical by established car makers,” it stated.