“There’s always space to go smaller – the world is changing very quickly,” Ian Callum, Jaguar design director said during an interview at the New York International Auto Show. He adds, “I think there’s a huge opportunity in the small car market, but it’s a very difficult business — hugely competitive and hugely price conscious.”
At least he knows what Jaguar would have to do to break into the small car hatchback class. Callum understands that, “You have to make a very big brave move to go into that market.”
Nevertheless Callum, the creator of such wonders as the Aston Martin DB9, seems hopeful for Jaguar making the leap. However, Callum concedes that Jaguar is currently too small of a company to take on the competition. So in the meantime, Jaguar is looking to expand its line in the upper bracket with the likes of the XE, XF, and upcoming F-Pace luxury crossover.
He nevertheless declares, “My personal belief, and I must emphasize that, is that there is space to go smaller for Jaguar. I’m a great lover of small cars.” He even owns up to the fact that he owns a Mini Cooper. Though he asserts that it’s a “proper Mini.”
Callum says he’s fine with the idea of Jaguar going front-wheel drive on a small car saying, “I am of the opinion that if you go any smaller than XE you have to go front-wheel drive. I think the world will accept that. Even BMW is accepting it.”
There has also been talk of making this conceptual small hatchback car with a new hybrid powertrain. Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover’s global engineering director, says that, “It might be a different technology that you go into those segments with as well. So we’re not ruling anything out. We’ve got tremendous ambition – the drive inside the company is just awesome.”
That’s good news for hatchback lovers looking for another option down the road in this segment that’s growing in popularity. While Jaguar won’t make any promises, there’s a good chance though that if the idea continues to gain momentum, a hatchback could land in showrooms as early as 2018.
So stay tuned. The cat is poised and ready to leap.
Photo Credit: Jaguar