As we alluded to in today's F-Type first drive, Jaguar hasn't been selling its wares in China for very long, and as a result, buyers there usually don't have the same appreciation for the brand's history. So you might reasonably think that the company's recent radical styling shift (kicked off by the 2008 XF) wouldn't be as jarring to the nation's buying populace since they really didn't have the automaker's more traditionally styled models from years past to compare them against.
Yet while Jaguar and its sister marque, Land Rover, continue to pick up steam in China's developing market, that apparently isn't necessarily the case. Local buyers there tend to have more conservative tastes when it comes to styling, preferring more upright dimensions, big back seats and larger quantities of traditional luxury materials (think: chrome and wood) than other markets currently find desirable. Thus, the very bold current-generation XJ sedan may be leaving some sales on the table.
According to Edmunds, Jag doesn't want to risk that, and as such, it is preparing two bodystyles for the next-generation XJ – one with the rakish coupe-like styling of the current model, and a more "old-school" three-box sedan designed to appeal to a wider swath of Chinese buyers.
Given that Jaguar's small size means that nearly every model it generates must play worldwide today (with exceptions made for variants like the XF Sportbrake, which hasn't been engineered to global crash standards), it's reasonable to question whether Jag might offer both XJ bodystyles here in North America – perhaps in a tiered scheme like the Audi A8 and A7. That strategy might catch more profits for the marque, but it might also represent a setback to design head Ian Callum's vision for a thoroughly modern Jaguar portfolio.