JAGUAR'S PLAN to extend its product lineup goes beyond anything seen at Mercedes-Benz. The A-class is the world record-holder in brand-stretching, but Jaguar will go further.
Jaguar plans to quadruple sales in the next few years by adding small- and mid-range luxury sedans to its lineup.
Early next year, the S-Type will challenge the BMW 5 series and the Mercedes E-class. About two years later the X400 will compete with the 3 series and E-class.
It won't be easy for Jaguar, even if the products are perfect. With new segments comes new competitors and risks. A generation of buyers that never considered Jaguar will measure the S-Type and X400 against established German competition, including Audi.
Jaguar must reinvent itself as a marketing force, and is beginning to do so. It is laying the groundwork with a giant mail campaign directed at customers across Europe.
The apparent willingness to go head-to-head with German competitors in Germany is encouraging. Toyota hasn't really tried that with Lexus.
If Jaguar's new cars succeed there they will probably succeed everywhere. One thing is certain, the whole automotive world will be watching.