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    5. The race to return Jaguar to its 'rogue' heyday

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    The race to return Jaguar to its 'rogue' heyday

    Steve McQueen was one of the many famous Jaguar owners in the movie Jag Man. heyday

    When the Jaguar E-type was introduced in the early '60s, even Enzo Ferrari admitted that the elegant coupe was “the most beautiful car in the world.”

    The innovative design has long been a favorite among cars. Avid petrolheads, the model's many famous owners include George Best, Peter Sellers and George Harrison.

    When Frank Sinatra first saw the E-type, it is said that he exclaimed: “I want this car, and I want it now.” .

    This was an era when Jaguars made the pulse race. The engines were attractive and cool, perhaps with a hint of danger. “Jaaag” is a “rogue” car, says Jeremy Clarkson.

    It gave birth to the “tooth man.” Car Magazine described him as follows: “The Cog Man was generally around 40 years old and a bit of a ladies' man in his day. A bit quirky in his youth, he later went legal and prospered. A self-made man has achieved success, if not the guy you really want to get involved with.”

    Today, Toothman is something of an endangered species. The most famous recent example is former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who was nicknamed “Two Prongs” because he owned an XJ6 alongside his ministerial XJ8.

    Jaguar hasn't created much of a stir with its latest models either. Despite being adopted by King Charles when it was first launched in 2018, the company recently announced that its first all-electric SUV, the I-Pace, would be discontinued early after failing to attract attention.

    Now the British marque is hoping to attract a new generation of Jag men with a spectacular new car.

    The four-door Grand Tourer (GT), scheduled to be unveiled later this year, will be the first in a new all-electric family of cars aimed at wealthier customers than the current range.

    It will sell for costing over £100,000, the range is 700 kilometers (430 miles) and charging almost completely takes around 15 minutes.

    This compares with the current £33,000 price range for the £70,000 existing brand line. The Jaguar XE is at the lower end, and the Grand Tourer F-type is at the upper end.

    The prestigious market segment will put Jaguar's new car in competition with the likes of the Mercedes S-Class, which starts from £93,000, and the BMW 7 Series, which starts from £105,000.

    It is important to note that the new car will also look spectacular, promises Rawdon Glover, managing director of the brand.

    “There's a saying our founder William Lyons used: Jaguar is at its best when it's a copy of nothing, when it's not following the pack. The intention is certainly to return Jaguar to its heyday.”

    As part of its planned land grab, Jaguar intends to abandon the more cautious and iterative approach to design it has taken in recent decades in favor of bolder, more assertive styling.

    Executives hope the new GT will do the same. evoke the same response from passersby as the E-type and other iconic models such as the Mark 2 driven by Inspector Morse or Steve McQueen's green rat XKSS.

    “If you think about the world's reaction to the E-type back in 1961, people had never seen a car like this before,” says Glover. “That's the bar we've set for ourselves.

    “Our new range of vehicles needs to have the same amazing level of impact, so when people see them they really say, 'Wow, this is like nothing else. what else.”

    “That being said, I suspect that such projects can polarize people – but we would prefer to be liked by a certain group of people rather than liked by a lot of people. And in that sense, the design is truly bold.”

    Although the GT's design remains shrouded in secrecy ahead of the official unveiling later this year, executives are talking about their expectations.

    Adrian Mardell, chief executive of the parent Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) describes the new car as “stunningly beautiful.”

    “I'm biased … but these are beautiful, beautiful cars,” he said. says.

    The designers assigned to the job, known internally as the “Renaissance Project,” were ordered to experiment with three potential design concepts: a luxury sedan, a luxury crossover SUV and a sports car.

    >

    They made 18 full-size clay models. The winning design was recognized as the best almost unanimously by everyone who saw it.

    Jaguar 'set the bar high' for herself when she launched the E-type in 1961. Photo: Sue Thatcher/iStock Editorial

    The resulting car, which will begin UK road testing under camouflage in the coming weeks and months, is largely a rejection of the uniform design that dominates most electric vehicles (EVs) today, according to Glover.< /p>

    He's staying tight-lipped about the details, but says the car will have a long hood and an interior “like luxury furniture” with a “boat-like feel.” Computer screens will only be present to a minimal extent.

    “A lot of electric cars at the moment are a bit derivative, they're very forward and it's all about aerodynamics, so they all look pretty similar. in terms of their format,” explains Glover.

    “Our cars really have huge proportions. Their goal is to create a truly impressive design that will stand out from the rest of the cars on the road.”

    This radical shift was not only due to a passion for returning to the creation of avant-garde cars. The shift to electric vehicles is forcing the company to charge higher prices. For this they need a special product.

    Jaguar produced around 67,000 cars in the year to the end of March and is expected to invest around £2 billion in refreshing the brand, from the £15 billion spent on electrifying the wider JLR portfolio.

    Based on these figures, coupled with today's higher production costs for electric vehicles compared to internal combustion engine vehicles, the company will have to sell at a higher price just to make the sums add up, notes one auto analyst.

    p>

    Compared to the current top end of its range, especially after recent inflation, £100,000 won't be too much of a jump for existing Jaguar customers. But “to attract people to that emotional £100,000 price tag you need halo,” adds the analyst.

    “Mercedes has the EQS [sedan] and [performance brand] AMG – you need that range GT, which costs up to £200,000.

    “It should feel like the customer has the opportunity to grow and become part of an exclusive club.”

    Mercedes' EQS sedans sell for over £100,000. Photo: THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP

    Jaguar's push into the luxury market is part of JLR's wider push to make all its engines more luxurious and therefore command higher prices. In recent years, JLR has already successfully brought the Range Rover brand into a higher price range.

    But Jaguar is not the “class-defining” brand that its sister marque is, the analyst says. Just as important as performance will be creating the feeling that Jaguar's relationship with its customers doesn't end when they drive away from the showroom. , both as a result of constant updates and as a result of “over-the-air” changes to software, as well as networking and ownership events.

    “You have to ask yourself what this brand is all about and why it is worth such a premium price ? – says the analyst.

    “Jaguar has a history of decent products, but it doesn't yet have the appeal that would make you splurge on a £100,000 car that will probably actually do what a £50,000 Chinese car can do.” /p>

    “This is necessary in the premium space – there should be a feeling of luxury from the association.”

    Glover agrees: “Customers need to feel like they're joining a community. Today, people are looking for brands that they feel they share principles with. You should feel like you're not just buying a type of mobility – you're buying something more.”

    The average selling price for a Jag today is £45,000-£50,000. To raise that average, “we need to change something,” Glover admits. “We will completely change the brand's positioning, its look and feel – it will be much more vibrant than it is today.”

    He says the modern Jaguar brand will be “vibrant,” “modern” and “fearless.”

    p>

    Brand, design, performance are all good, but Jaguar will also have to overcome the aversion Many petrol cars share with the quiet and discreet nature of electric vehicles.

    Laurence Stroll, the billionaire owner of Aston Martin, believes that most luxury car owners… -still crave the smell and sound of combustion-engined cars.

    If Jaguar fans can't stand an electric car just yet but crave the heyday, they can buy a copy of the classic E-type for £295,000 apiece.

    “This will be the most powerful Jaguar we've ever made,” he adds. “And the electric powertrain gives you a completely different proposition in terms of ride quality, comfort and quietness.

    “We are confident that we have the right offer.”

    After spending time in the Jagman garage may soon be on the road again.

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