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.


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  • 25 Comments
      bouljf
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think this could improve Jaguar's North American sales as well. Large luxury sedan buyers are not known to be the most daring when it comes to style. There has to be a reason besides Jaguar's old tendencies to break down why we see so little XJs around. I've read plenty of reviews stating it's at or near the top of its segment for fun to drive.
      Hello, Brian
      • 1 Year Ago
      Although I don\'t usually care for it in pictures, and have never been a fan of the headlight (or tail light) treatment, I have to say that I love the XJ in person. It has a great deal of presence and is more attractive than the big Germans (sorry A8, I still love you), and the Quattroporte.
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 1 Year Ago
      As someone who absolutely loves the new XJ, but also loves the more traditional conservative luxury cars filled with wood, leather and metal, I'm quite OK with this. I'm interested to see what they come out with.
      TrekG
      • 1 Year Ago
      IMO what they need BADLY is a model to go against the Audi A5/S5 line, a 2 door XF would look awesome.
      MrWhopee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Huh? I think this is the perfect time to bring the Daimler back! Same car, but with more formal, conservative styling throughout. I think it might just sell quite well all around the world too.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      When the xj6 came out circa 1968 it simplified Jaguar's sedan (saloon) line-up. It displaced compact Jafs such as 420, 340, etc AND the big cats. 420g, Marks 7-10. The Mark Vii-10s offered Rolls/Bentley alternatives with strong value for money. I think it's a good idea for Jsg to revisit this market.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      William Flesher
      • 1 Year Ago
      This must be a tough pill to swallow for Ian Callum and the design dept. at Jaguar. Jaguars were known for daring, contemporary design for most of their history, and after decades of look-alike XJ models, they truly lost any sort of "edge". That certainly isn't the case anymore. My suggestion would be to dust off the Daimler brand for a more conservative or larger bodystyle.
      Richard R. Martin
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't really see why this should be considered a "setback" for Ian Callum's vision of what modern Jaguars should be. There's plenty of scope for creating a handsome, more traditionally styled car alongside the rather radical and divisive XJ, without veering back into the sort of clich├ęd retro that Jaguar had become known for before the XF debuted.
        GFB
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Richard R. Martin
        I agree! But what is so "unmodern" about a 3-box design? A contemporary 3-box design doesn't have to be "traditional" or retro looking. 4-door coupe styling may be a trend but that trend does not define "modern." The 5-series, E-klasse and A6 are still 3-box sedans as are the 7, S and A8. Ian Callum is probably thrilled to have the chance to be doubly creative, not "setback."
      Jonathan Wayne
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a really good idea. Cover both ends of the market. I personally love the new XJ design and am considering it. They have great depreciation, already down in the $50,000s for a 2011. I like the direction Jaguar/Land Rover in going.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jonathan Wayne
        [blocked]
      adam1keith1980
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Chinese people have good taste. I thought I was alone in appreciating the tasteful and timeless designs of Audi A8, VW Phaeton, and the old Lexus LS. The 7-series, S-class, and XJ are freakishly over-styled. I am glad that wealth of the Chinese is forcing the return of beautifully styled sedans instead of the fashionable monstrosities that we have now.
        Sir Duke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @adam1keith1980
        The A8 is not timeless, every-time they change the design, outgoing model becomes dated. The Phaeton is timeless, because it was discontinued. Funny how that works. The Phaeton is truly a classic sedan that was beautifully executed, as is the mid to late 2000s A8. I could sit and pick apart current A8, some features of Audi's new design language actually ruined the A8 for me. The XJ is a conundrum, the exterior is almost bland and featureless, while the interior looks like Liberace had a hand in this mess. Jaguar went down the wrong path when they jumped on the 4-door coupe bandwagon. While the design may be modern, it is hardly elegant, and totally lacks character. Remove the "angry kitty" badges, and most non-enthusiasts wouldn't even know what it is.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
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