July 7, 2015
British automaker Jaguar is giving consumers a brief look at its upcoming F-Pace model through a partnership with the Tour de France.
Set to debut officially at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the F-Pace briefly came out in public on July 4 in front of crowds in Utrecht, Netherlands to support Team Sky during the first stage of the race. While this appearance gives some hints as to the model's design, the special covering created for the event may help to keep details under wraps until the big reveal.
"Launching the first look of the Jaguar F Pace at the Tour de France was truly a genius move as this is a world-class event that is watched over many days by many viewers around the world," said Lauren Fix, automotive expert, Lancaster, NY.
"There is plenty of focus on the riders as well as the vehicles that support them, a great opportunity for many people both in the region and on TV to see the Jaguar a logo on the first SUV," she said.
"After multiple days of national television and multimedia exposure for Jaguar, I am sure that they will find other additional ways to present the Jaguar F type to multiple different audiences that are potential purchasers prior to the Frankfurt auto show review."
Ms. Fix is not affiliated with Jaguar, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Jaguar did not respond by press deadline.
Jaguar’s F-Pace is a performance crossover SUV, which is based on the C-X17 concept car shown at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The car’s design blends the sports car look of the F-Type on the aluminum exterior with a functional five-seat interior, making it a good potential family vehicle.
This new model broke its silence, appearing in front of a live audience of approximately 1 million and the additional 2 billion watching on television.
During the Grand Depart, the vehicle supported the five Team Sky riders--Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe, Peter Kennaugh, Leopold König and Chris Froome. The automaker carried two of the team’s Pinarello Bolide Time Trial bikes on a special rack created for the stage, which included a telescopic clamp engineered by Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations.
Jaguar F-Pace at Tour de France
As the riders were being tested, Jaguar’s first crossover was also having its first run in the real world on a large stage.
Jaguar created a social video to capture the importance of its role in the race and show off the F-Pace to a larger audience.
In the film, Mr. Froome pedals alone with a Jaguar trailing him on a foggy road. He says, “As a rider, it’s crucial for us to have the best bikes possible, so for our support staff, it’s crucial for them to have the best vehicles to be able to give us that support we need. And Jaguar absolutely provide that for us.”
The music swells, and the bicyclist speeds past crowds of people gathered on the side of the road, a smile on his face. His trusted support team rides right behind in the Jaguar.
Jaguar F-Pace - Supporting Team Sky at Stage One of Tour De France
Rather than the previous hard camouflage used on the F-Pace, for this trip the vehicle wore only a skin, making the design partly visible to onlookers.
In a brand statement, Team Sky head of technical operations and commercial Carsten Jeppesen said: "The atmosphere in Utrecht was incredible. The Netherlands has a huge passion for cycling and right from the moment we arrived at the start line, you could feel the excitement. The appearance of Jaguar's F-Pace prototype definitely added to the hype today - you could see it made a big impact with the crowds."
The F-Pace will go on sale in 2016.
Team Sky has figured in other Jaguar efforts, as the automaker compares its own techniques to that of the cyclists.
The automaker brought in a Team Sky executive to discuss marginal gains – a concept that directed the British cycling team to success – to translate it into automobile design and performance.
Jaguar and Team Sky have previously relied on one another’s expertise to bring insights from automobiles and bikes together. This unique partnership allows Jaguar to create a longstanding relationship with some of Britain’s best athletes, aligning its vehicles with the performance and technique of world renowned cyclists (see story).
Soft launches have been the choice for other automakers, as digital channels allow them to reveal new models bit by bit.
British automaker Bentley Motors has released yet another teaser for its Bentayga in the wake of recent announcements about sports utility vehicles from other luxury auto brands.
The original announcement for the Bentayga came in summer 2013 and the model has been gradually teased ever since. Another short video for the campaign keeps consumers intrigued, but the elongated anticipation for the release of the vehicle may lose the attention of many consumers (see story).
When Jaguar's SUV comes out, it will have increased competition, since luxury car makers are entering the SUV category in droves to capitalize on consumer interest.
"Luxury brands tease," said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami, FL. "Being found where you’re least expected has always been a luxury strategy. Wheels Up on the pants of the Triple Crown winning jockey and Hublot on the boxing shorts of Floyd Meriwether are other recent examples.
"Brand ubiquity is increasingly important for brand building," he said. "To pass unnoticed without fanfare is a sophisticated marketing strategy. True luxury often has a James Bond-like quality, recognized only by the cognoscenti. It’s as if Jaguar is tipping its hat to those who know, without caring about the others.
"Calling attention to oneself is increasingly a mass/premium market strategy. Flashing is the art of seduction. Reveals come in due time. Both create their own special type of desire."
Sarah Jones, staff reporter on Luxury Daily, New York