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Some analysts have predicted the Jaguar XE will be the start of a product offensive as the firm seeks to quadruple its sales and it is almost certain to be followed by an SUV crossover.

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Both the XE and the crossover will be the first cars to be built at Land Rover's Solihull plant, the chief reason being they will be based on an aluminium monocoque, rolling off a new purpose-built production facility being created in Solihull - which unlike the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich offers room to expand.

With the XE, Jaguar has pledged to deliver "the most advanced, efficient and refined sports sedan in its class" - which will be quite a feat given it is up against the likes of the BMW 3 Series, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4.

So, what are its chances of success as it attempts to deliver a more mainstream model designed to propel sales into the hundreds of thousands and beyond?

Ian Donaldson, freelance motoring journalist and chairman of the Midland Group of Motoring Writers, feels the firm's pedigree will help but a lot will depend on how the XE is perceived by the car-buying public.

"Jaguar has punched way above its weight for decades, producing cars that get talked about but sell in smaller numbers than you might believe," he said.

"It's all in the perception of a likely buyer. If enough people think the new Jaguar XE looks good in a smart, modern sort of way, then it stands every chance of pinching a useful number of sales from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz."

He added: "Building it mostly from aluminium will give it bragging rights in a market where high tech undoubtedly sells. And the recent release of the F-Type convertible and imminent arrival of the F-Type coupe will usefully increase Jaguar's visibility to the sort of middle manager who would love one for a company car but would settle happily for a cheaper and family-friendly XE."

Andrew Noakes, senior lecturer in automotive journalism at Coventry University, believes expanding the Jaguar range is vital in the long-term.

He said: "Jaguar Land Rover sales have been going up and up and the latest figure, which will be announced at the end of this month, is bound to show a further improvement. But most of that has been driven by Land Rover, which is selling five times as many cars as Jaguar.

"That's because Jaguar is currently missing vital models. One is an SUV, which has been seen as a concept car and a production model will be on the way. The other is a compact saloon, which is the biggest part of the premium car market.

"Jaguar brand director Adrian Hallmark has said the XE will have to be spectacularly good to compete, and he's right. It will be up against sophisticated rivals like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, both incredibly accomplished cars.

"And the market Jaguar is aiming at will expect everything about ownership to be absolutely spot-on - not just the car, and its performance and reliability, but also the experience at the dealership when buying or servicing. Those are areas where the German makes typically excel - they don't just make great cars, they also look after customers well."

Mr Noakes said one advantage the XE will have over potential competitors is the fact its model cycle will be out of sync with German rivals, and as such will be an all-new car competing against others that have been around for a few years.

Consequently he has high hopes for its success and believes it will benefit regional manufacturing as a whole.

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