Although Jaguar is a brand known by many, in the luxury car market, it is more of a bit player than a leading lady, selling just over 15,000 cars in the U.S. last year, compared to its Land Rover sibling, which moved more than 50,000 units in 2014. Brands like BMW, are juggernauts by comparison. In August, the German automaker sold more than 19,000 vehicles, well over Jaguar's 2014 total for the year.

Chris Marchand, Jaguar's executive vice president of operations, believe that Jaguar can take a larger share of the luxury market thanks not only to its new pricing structure and Elite Car Coverage program, but also to two new products, the compact XE sedan and crossover SUV F-Pace that will be added to the portfolio next year. Speaking to the Motor Press Guild at its Western region office in Irvine, Marchand said that in "2016, 60 percent of our sales will come from two vehicles we do not sell today, the F-Pace and XE. We have a product onslaught never seen before from Jaguar."

Moving to the center

Jaguar's sales and appeal have been limited due to the nature of the product range, which tended to be concentrated at the top of the luxury segment in the form of the flagship XJ sedan, midsize XF and sports-oriented F-Type. The recent pricing actions as well as a new generation of the XF set for launch this fall are expected to reposition these high end vehicles as value propositions relative to their key competitors. The XF 35t will start at $51,900, or $5,000 less than the model it replaces and below such key competitors as the $53,100 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the $55,850 BMW 5 Series and the $57,400 Audi A6.

The flagship XJ will again be offered in standard and long wheelbase versions starting at $74,400, some $20,000 less than a Mercedes-Benz S550. Marchand said a V6 XJL 3.0 Portfolio model priced at $83,200 compares favorably with a BMW 740iL with a $85,800 sticker.

Also: Class of 2016 -- New Cars Ready to Roll

XE and F-Pace at the heart of the market

Marchand believes that the XE and F-Pace are absolutely critical to building the Jaguar brand, the former because of its pricing positioning and volume relative to the other sedans in the line, the latter because the crossover SUV segment continues to be one of the hottest selling categories not just in the U.S. but around the world.

When the 2017 Jaguar XE goes on sale next year, it will be offered with three engine choices, 4-cylinder gas and diesel powerplants and a V6 gas engine. The XE lineup starts with the 25t, a turbocharged 2.0-liter gas engine model priced from $34,900. The 20d, a 2.0-liter turbodiesel, will be $36,400 while the range topping 35t, with its turbocharged 3.0-liter supercharged V6, will cost $41,700. The base model will be $1,000 less than an Audi A4 and $3,500 less than comparable Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The F-Pace will be offered in three trim levels, base 20d at $40,990, 340-horsepower 35t with the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 at $42,390 and the 380-horsepower F-Pace S at $56,700. Marchand said a $50,100 F-Pace 35t Prestige model compares favorably against a $52,600 Porsche Macan.

Marchand said that to introduce the new products (which will increase the lineup to five), Jaguar will have a travelling program called "The Art of Performance Tour: Lights. Camera. Drive!" This seven-city cross-country tour, kicks off in Los Angeles in November, invites consumers to see the full 2016/2017 Jaguar line-up, including the Jaguar F-PACE. Also participants will be given the opportunity to drive the Jaguar XE six months before it goes on sale. According to Jaguar, the drive experience is designed around Jaguar's long-standing relationship with movies. While consumers are driving the all-new XE, they will be videoed to create an action sequence with the clip sharable on social media.  Consumers can sign up to receive more information about The Art of Performance by visiting JaguarUSA.com/RSVP.

More Jaguar XE and F-Pace news...

2017 Jaguar XE First Review

2017 Jaguar XE 20d and XE 35t models confirmed for the U.S.

2017 Jaguar F-Pace unleashed

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