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Jaguar might not sell many XF Sportbrakes in the U.S., but here's why it's trying

Joel Stocksdale

One of the wonderful surprises of this year was when we learned that the U.S. would receive the XF Sportbrake wagon, and — less of a surprise — it's as much a looker as the previous generation. And while we're never one to look a gift car in the grille, it did seem strange that Jaguar would attempt to bring a wagon to the U.S., especially when it already had a similarly sized F-Pace crossover. So we spoke with Jaguar CEO Joe Eberhardt, Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum, and Jaguar's head of product planning in the U.S. to find out what prompted the company to bring the XF Sportbrake here.

There were a few key reasons. One was simply that the folks at Jaguar really like the car, and they know that journalists like wagons. That doesn't exactly pay the bills for a car, but the enthusiasm is good. According to these people at Jaguar, though, they do believe there is a market for the car, and they expect to sell most of them on the coasts.

Obviously, even if Jaguar sees a wagon market, it's still going to be much smaller than for crossover SUVs. But no matter how small that market is, Jaguar has an extra advantage for bringing the wagon here. The company knew it was going to make a wagon regardless of whether it would come to America, since the wagon market in Europe is so strong. In fact, Jaguar expects that half of XF sales in Europe will be Sportbrakes. So the majority of the engineering costs will be covered from those sales. The folks at Jaguar also told us that the car wasn't difficult to homologate for the U.S., so the cost of bringing it here was minimal. So in the worst case scenario that has the XF Sportbrake hardly selling in America, Jaguar isn't going to be seriously hurt. And if it's a success, then it's even more of a success.

So the XF Sportbrake isn't purely a passion product, but that's OK. It means consumers have one more option to the multitude of crossovers in the U.S., and enthusiasts have the chance to own a super cool wagon. Also, although the XF Sportbrake is currently only available in America in top-level 380-horsepower S trim, Jaguar said lower trim levels and lower-output engines, all at lower prices, will be available here in the coming year or so. Meaning there will be even more ways to satisfy your wagon itch.

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