Jaguar is once again considering launching a front-wheel-drive compact to help lower its fleet-wide average fuel economy and better compete with its German rivals, all of which already offer such models and have even more in the pipeline. Of course, Jaguar still has to catch up on its rivals by launching a successor to its X-Type, which--thankfully--is already in development, but at the same time it has to make preparations for its next generation of cars.

The reason behind the need for such cars is strict new fuel economy and emissions regulations coming into play over the next decade. While in the U.S. automakers will need to have corporate average fuel economy numbers of 54.5 mpg by 2025, in Europe any automaker producing more than 300,000 cars annually will have to average CO2 emissions of 95 grams per kilometer by 2020--and politicians are looking to make the laws even stricter.

The last time we heard about Jaguar considering a front-wheel-drive compact was two years ago. Back then we said any ‘baby’ Jag would need to be both fuel efficient and desirable enough to sell in quantities to offset Jaguars with less impressive fuel economy.

However, the biggest hurdle for Jaguar would be sourcing a suitable platform for the car, reports Autocar. Developing the platform in-house is unlikely to be profitable for Jaguar given the expected sales volumes and low margins on compact cars. Alternatives include developing a new platform with parent company Tata or borrowing the platform of a rival automaker.

So what would a front-wheel-drive compact from Jaguar look like? The automaker’s design boss Ian Callum has said it doesn’t necessarily have to be a hatchback, suggesting it could be a coupe or even a small sedan.


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