Posted Feb 1st 2015 6:00PM
After a six-year absence, the Jaguar XE will return that most English of automotive companies to the compact premium segment, the brand's first whole-hearted launch into that market. For certain Western markets it begins production at the Land Rover plant in Solihull early next year, but it will also continue the brand's venture in to China having been chosen as the first Jaguar to be built there, according to a report in Automotive News.
Jaguar-Land Rover owns a plant in Changshu, a joint venture with Chery Automobile, that started building the Range Rover Evoque this year and will add the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Previously, The Leaping Cat was selling cars built from kits at its factory in Pune, India. The brand figures to sell 20,000 cars in China next year, which would be less than a fifth of in-country sales for the JLR group, but the XE is the "spearhead vehicle" that "could make significant inroads" there, according to Jaguar. For comparison, Audi moved 120,450 A4s alone and BMW sold more than 100,000 3 Series models in China in 2013.
Globally, Jaguar is predicted to sell 80,000 units this year. By 2017, after the release of the XE, new XF and coming crossover, plus factory expansions in China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, it hopes to get that number up to 200,000 units; Forbes has a piece detailing why they think it's possible. The JLR group is shooting for a target of 850,000 units worldwide by 2020.