menu

Dave Pinter: How Jaguar is Skillfully Targeting Design and Performance to Rebuild the Brand

Design

Starting with the new F-Type, Jaguar has been using involvement in non-automotive events to promote its brand characteristics

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 24 july 2014

Cats don’t really have nine lives as the saying goes, but the characteristic of felines being able to narrowly escape peril and survive is part of their mystique. Just a few years ago, many questioned whether the Jaguar brand had reached its ninth life after an unsuccessful marriage with Ford as part of the Premier Automotive Group (PAG). Cost cutting production initiatives including  basing Jaguar cars off Ford platforms, a failed Formula One racing stint and never becoming profitable under Ford were all signs the brand was in trouble.  Tata Motors of India purchased Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford in March 2008 for £1.15 billion in a move to save the marques, but their long term survival was very unclear.

It wasn’t until the 2010 Paris Auto show which coincided with Jaguar’s 75th anniversary that a first hint of the brands’ rebirth took shape. With a fresh injection of cash from Tata, and Jag’s design guru Ian Callum overseeing a design staff anxious to make a new mark, the C-X75 concept not only was the surprise unveiling of the show, but quickly racked up a list of design awards. Four years later, there are still calls to get the car produced, but while a new supercar Jag hasn’t appeared yet, the C-X75 did foretell the look of a smaller sports car Jaguar had in mind to relaunch the brand, which we now know is the F-Type.

The E-Type sports car (included in the Petersen Museum ‘Worlds Greatest Sports Coupes’ exhibition in 2014)  was the most iconic and arguably successful car Jaguar produced. A large collector market has grown around original and restored models from the 50’s and 60’s , even the Museum of Modern Art in New York owns one for the collection. A modern version of the E-Type is what the F-type needed to be. And rather than focus on a volume car or SUV to initially boost  the sales side brand, Jaguar opted to focus on a  niche vehicle that had a more exciting marketing story.

To build awareness for the brand and the new car, Jaguar debuted their first ever Superbowl commercial in 2014 featuring a cast of British cinema villains and the tag line ‘It’s Good To Be Bad’.  The ad was a clever way to reintroduce Jaguar and sets the tone for the brand going forward.

 

Following the F-type convertible launch last year, Jaguar set out to build design awareness by partnering with Wallpaper Magazine on the Wallpaper Handmade exhibition. The first two iteration of that show were held in Miami during Design/Miami and in NYC for NYCxDesign.

The exhibition included commissioned design objects created by independent designers and members of Jaguar’s in-house design staff. A special F-Type Coupe cutaway was featured at in NYC giving a glimpse of the meticulous design and engineering of the cars’ aluminum chassis.

While Jaguar isn’t involved in a factory motor racing programs currently, they are in fact part of the biggest racing event happening every July, the Tour de France. As vehicle sponsor for Team Sky, Jaguar enlisted their Special Vehicle Operations team to create a special one-off F-Type Coupe to pace Sky riders on the individual time trial stage prior to the finishing day in Paris. The car is fitted with a custom carbon fiber bike rack that can carry two Pinarello Bolide TTs.

The proof for any sports car to be good is in how it drives. Jaguar says the F-Type’s main competitor is the Porsche 911, arguably the benchmark of the category. Porsche have spent decades refining the 911 so to beat it from the start is a monumental task. We got an opportunity to find out how good the F-Type is on a drive program hosted by Jaguar in Los Angeles.

The F-Type Coupe visually follows a classic sports car approach to proportion, short overhangs, long hood, small canopy set towards the rear, and a short rear deck. Arching forms over the wheels link back to the E-type. The softer shapes of the front end don’t give it a super aggressive look but the thin rear tail lights and dual exhaust look much closer to coming from the C-X75.

The interior has a slightly retro feel as well with controls shaped more from the analog era than the digital one. On the center console adjacent to the driver is the exhaust button which when activated offers a nice throaty rumble noise from the tailpipes.

The drive route was a really special one over the Angeles Crest HIghway, a winding 66-mile ribbon of asphalt that cuts through stunning canyon landscapes and traverses mountain passes. With hardly a straight section of road though enjoying the view happens in small glimpses. The F-Type handled the sharp corners and switchbacks well, the brakes didn’t fade when pushed and the electronics didn’t noticeably detract from the driving experience.

The ride character pretty much matches the cars’ visual character. It isn’t a stiffly sprung race car disguised as a road car which means it isn’t exhausting to drive long distances. Bumps aren’t bone rattling either. But the more ‘comfortable’ ride does lack some of the preciseness of feel that German rivals strive so hard to achieve.

To get a better feel of the performance limits of the F-Type Coupe, our destination was the Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA. Here, we got to experience some ride-along laps with pro drivers including former Indy car winner Roberto Guerrero. They demonstrated a seemingly effortless smooth driving approach which in practice is incredibly difficult to master as we experienced during our turn at the wheel.

There was also an opportunity to test the traction control system on a skid pad, basically a big section of pavement covered in water. With the system off and all the power from the V8 going through the rear wheels, it was pretty easy to spin out when the gas pedal was mashed. With the system on, the car limits the amount of power going from the engine to the rear wheels to maintain control, even when the gas is floored.

While Jaguar hopes to go head to head with the Porsche 911, the F-Type is really a different kind of car. The target buyer age for both is in the early 60’s and clearly Jaguar has taken this into account by providing a more comfortable ride. Amongst car folk, more power is better but between the F-Type’s two engine choices, a V8 or V6, the V6 felt better and more practical on the street. Rather than churning track laps, it is a car more suited for cruising and having fun on some twisty roads. Jaguar isn’t about overt technical innovation in the degree as BMW, Audi or Porsche which puts the F-Type in a unique spot. Buyers looking for a sports car without having to have an engineering degree to drive it should find something both familiar and new in the F-Type.

Jaguar
Images: Dave Pinter, Jaguar

Jaguar provided travel to Los Angeles and a hotel room at The London to facilitate our F-Type Coupe drive.

 

Trending

Genetics Startup Is Working To Create A Completely Personalized, DNA-Based Range Of Products

Health
Travel Today

United Airlines Launches An Updated Business Class Program

The new Polaris product prioritizes customer service and updated modern amenities

Design & Architecture Today

Video Explores Complex Museum Architecture

A mini video gives a quick overview of the most beautiful cultural buildings built

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Retail 2017

See All
Sustainability Today

Smog Vacuum Turns Pollution Particulates Into Unique Jewelry

A large device was installed in Beijing that sucks up smog and compresses it into small centerpieces atop jewelry

Experiential Marketing Today

PSA Fashion Line Shines A Light On Victim Blaming

YWCA Canada is using fashion and sexist tweets to highlight how often we as a society blame the victim in cases of abuse

Related Expert

Bonnie Knutson

Hospitality & Marketing

Syndicated Today

What PSX 2016 Tells Us About The Modern Games Industry

Nostalgia and big brands are defining how the console market is being shaped

Op-Ed Today

VP: Why Messaging Apps Are Issuing In A New Era Of Commerce

Matt Johnson discusses how mobile messaging commerce is creating a different modality for interaction between retailers and consumers

Technology Today

The PSFK Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Based on a year of research by PSFK Labs, we curated a list of innovative and unique holiday gifts

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed december 2, 2016

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Food Today

Minute Maid Opens A Store That Sells Nothing

The beverage company opened a pop-up shop that encourages customers to write letters to their parents instead of buying a gift

Entertainment Today

Samsung And Viceland Partner For A Virtual Reality Documentary On The Syrian War

The White Helmets film uses VR to immerse viewers in the everyday conditions of the war-torn country

Design & Architecture Today

These Designs Bring Modern Architecture To The Humble Birdhouse

Artist Douglas Barnhard has imagined a series of designs emulating the work of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler

AI Today

Nine Technologies To Invest In When It Comes To Retail [Future Of Retail]

Retailers are leveraging assistive technology to help employees in their daily tasks and customers on the sales floor

Travel Today

Acura Cockpit Envisions The Future Of Autonomous Travel

The car brand has built a proof that offers a sneak peek of the self-driving vehicle experience

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Retail Today

How Artificial Intelligence Is Enabling Anytime Shopping & On-Demand Support

Retailers are leveraging advanced technology to relieve associates from mundane tasks, while better assisting customers

Cities Today

NYC Map Calculates Economic Benefits Of Every Tree

TreesCount! maps all the greenery in the five boroughs and even figures out how much money it saves the city

Design Today

Create A Perfectly Tailored Shirt Using Just Your Phone

UKYS has created an application to get accurate measurements of buyers through a few simple pictures for custom shirts

No search results found.