The Jaguar E-Type, dubbed “the most beautiful car ever made” by none other than Enzo Ferrari, has nonetheless enjoyed a rocky legacy. For all the praise its styling receives, the car has continued to be remembered as a reliability nightmare. In the 1976 film, “The Gumball Rally,” the Jaguar E-Type entrant fails to start (and, thus, never crosses the starting line). And in one of the most memorable episodes of AMC’s “Mad Men,” a character attempts suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning. However, in keeping with the show’s often dark humor, the attempt ultimately fails thanks to a Jaguar E-Type that won’t start.
Things didn’t improve much after Ford purchased Jaguar toward the end of the 20th century. As Cliff Atiyeh has pointed out, cars like the X-Type quickly became known for being expensive and unreliable. By the time Jaguar was sold to Tata Motors in 2008, the British carmaker had lost its place in the mind of luxury car buyers. With a new compact sedan and an SUV in the stable, however, Jaguar is finally finding its way into more driveways.
BMW was one of many automakers to see sales dip in the first quarter of 2017, as the auto market continued to cool off after years of growth. Yet Jaguar, with the 2017 XE and the F-PACE crossover, has seen first-quarter sales increase more than 100% compared to the same timeframe last year. And while much of its success can be attributed to the timely release of the F-PACE coinciding with America’s crossover obsession, the XE should not be dismissed. Shortly after deriding the X-Type, Cliff Atiyeh called the 6-cylinder Jaguar XE “a real sports sedan that can outgun the BMW 3 Series.”
Sales figures across the auto industry paint a curious picture of American economics right now. Huge, everyman companies like Ford and Chevrolet have seen sales figures plunge, forcing both to idle factories this summer, and for the first time in recent memory, even Jeep is struggling to capture customers for FCA. Near-luxury brands like GMC, Lincoln, and yes, Jaguar, however, have seen sales increase. As reported by Bloomberg, it all comes down to the individuals these brands court:
The people kicking the tires on a $45,000 GMC Acadia Denali are more likely to have a different economic situation than those testing the $29,000 Chevrolet Traverse. Financing for GMC faithful is probably less of a stretch.
Jaguar was careful to price its new models below the German competition, with the F-PACE starting at $41,990 and the XE even lower at $34,990. This puts them below the likes of the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, respectively, and all the more attractive to shoppers interested in moving up to the luxury class. What’s more, Jaguar’s 5-year, 60,000-mile warranty represents the company’s commitment to rectifying its reputation for poor reliability. Although the F-PACE and XE continue to post lower total sales numbers than BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar may currently stand in a better position to surge forward even further.
Would you buy a new Jaguar XE instead of a BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class?