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Jaguar says an entry-level hatchback is a definite maybe

Jaguar is counting on four new or improved models – including the new XE, the second-gen XF and the upcoming F-Pace crossover – to sell more cars in key markets such as the United States and China. In Europe, however, the Leaping Cat could expand its lineup towards the bottom in a bid to boost sales.

Speaking to Australian website Motoring, Jaguar design director Ian Callum revealed that the company hasn’t ruled out developing a small, entry-level hatchback to take on the BMW 1 Series, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Audi A3. The company admits that it’s difficult to make a favorable business case for a small hatchback because profit margins in the segment are wafer-thin, but it is at least looking into it.

Callum explained that the hatchback will more than likely have to ride on a front-wheel drive platform and rely on electronic driving aids to cancel out the setup’s negative traits. It is too early to tell if the platform will be developed in-house or if it will be borrowed from another automaker. The only thing that is certain at this point is that Jaguar doesn’t have a suitable platform in its parts bin.

Related: More powerful F-Type in the works

Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover’s global engineering director, suggested that the entry-level hatchback will not be powered by members of the group’s new Ingenium family of gasoline- and diesel-burning engines. Instead, it will likely features it own powerplants and it could even be offered with a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain, a move that would allow Jaguar to noticeably lower its fleet’s CO2 emissions.

For the time being, the entry-level Jaguar hatchback is little more than an idea that executives toss around during board meetings. If it is given the green light for production, the yet-unnamed compact is not expected to land in showrooms until 2018 at the very earliest.