Following a rough decade in which both companies seemed to escape from the Ford conglomerate by the skin of their teeth (unlike some unlucky brethren), both companies have landed on their feet and have finally steered their respective ships in hopeful directions, albeit slightly different.
For Jaguar, its transformation started with the XF and XJ overhaul a few years back, then the stunning F-type, and now this year they’ll unveil their most competitive car yet – the XE. This car will most likely prove to be the flagship of the brand, and it will face stiff competition against the bread and butter of Merc and BMW, the 3-series and C-class. If Jaguar gets this car right, it’ll be a solid platform from which to expand into more aggressive and even more competitive segments like the crossover SUV segment in which they hope to introduce their CX-17 concept.
Volvo, a company known for its Swedish minimalism, is trying out some of its own pretty radical ideas to reinvigorate US and global sales. On a more practical basis, they finally redesigned the 13 year old XC90 by carefully integrating the best of Scandinavian engineering, safety, and technology. Speaking of which, this model will be among the first to launch with Apple’s new CarPlay infotainment system, along with introducing a plug-in hybrid variation. On the more radical side, their marketing team has decided to shun a lot of conventional wisdom, especially in regards to auto show appearances and traditional advertising channels, in order to focus more resources on online car buying and direct online advertising. Further, Volvo has plans to include a personal service technician to each and every new Volvo customer who buys a 2017 car in the hopes of garnering more post-purchase satisfaction and boosting consumer loyalty. On a global scale, and in the US, this is a massive and expensive undertaking that is virtually unprecedented in the industry.
As a whole, the premium automotive marketplace is only getting hotter and fiercer in terms of competition and growth opportunity. Jaguar and Volvo are both coming into their own rhythm at the right time, but they’ll still have an uphill battle in convincing Americans that other parts of Europe besides Germany can make pretty sweet cars. Expect them to unveil some fantastic products and ideas in the coming year that hopefully resonate with the public.