Traditionally, small city cars haven’t been viewed by the mainstream auto industry or most car buyers with much enthusiasm.
Now they’re so trendy that even renowned luxury brands like Jaguar want to build one.
Speaking with What Car? magazine at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, Jaugar design boss Ian Callum revealed that the British prestige automaker was seriously considering building a car to rival smaller cars like the Toyota iQ-based Aston Martin Cygnet minicar.
“It’s a personal view, but there’s room for a premium small car,” Callum explained. “It would be a high-end small car for city use.”
Is there a market for a smaller Jaguar? Probably not in most cities in the U.S., but as more and more places around the world chose to adopt heavy taxation schemes designed to keep larger-engined, heavily-polluting cars out of city centers, there is an emerging market for premium, high-gas mileage city cars.
“The big challenges would be economic and creating a business for it, along with making a small car feel like a Jaguar and have the right levels of refinement and luxury,” Callum told What Car?, adding that the car could easily be a hatchback, coupe or even small sedan.
Of course, if Jaguar wants to create a luxury small car without spending too much on development costs, it could always look towards Japanese auto face-lift specialists Mitsuoka. If you haven’t seen the Nissan-Micra-based Mitsuoka Viewt which was inspired by the Vintage Jaguar Mark II Sedan, perhaps it’s time to.
Then again, if Japanese Faux-vintage cars are just too crass, perhaps Jaguar could make improvements to a car a little closer to home courtesy of its parent company Tata and the diminutive Nano.
At just 122 inches long, the world’s cheapest production car is certainly small, but Jaguar bosses might have a tough time selling the unusually combustible, no-frills car to its customers unless it can give the Nano a luxury makeover.
Naturally, if Jaguar decides to follow either piece of advice, we’ll make sure it knows where to send the commission.