To reach the near doubling of sales by 2020 revealed by Duffield would require a compound annual growth rate of less than 10 percent. Current growth is well ahead of that, analysts say, suggesting the target will be met far sooner.
"JLR's growth in the last two years has already been spectacular," Max Warburton, senior analyst at Bernstein Research, wrote in a recent report. "We expect its growth to continue -- at a far faster pace than most are anticipating."
Yet Popham insisted he did not see Jaguar Land Rover becoming a BMW, which last year sold 1.8 million units globally.
"We have no expertise in volume manufacturing," he said. But even that could be seen as an understatement. In June, Jaguar Land Rover hired Wolfgang Stadler, formerly head of BMW's largest factory, in Dingolfing, Germany, as its global manufacturing manager.
In recent years Land Rover has provided most of the growth within Jaguar Land Rover. Jaguar, for instance, accounted for only 18 percent of group sales in the first nine months of this year. But that is likely to change with the launch of Jaguar models based on the new lightweight aluminum architecture that was previewed at the Frankfurt auto show in September in the form of the C-X17 crossover concept. The architecture will first be used in production for a sedan, due in 2015, that will challenge the BMW 3 series and Mercedes-Benz C class.
The architecture will underpin a wide range of vehicles, said Julian Thomson, Jaguar's head of advanced design.
Although a decision has yet to be made on production of the crossover, there is little doubt that it will be built as part of Jaguar's expanded model plan.
"We want lots and lots of products and we want all the incremental products as well," Thomson said.
He said the design team developed between 20 and 30 vehicles from the company's platform to ensure the architecture would suit them all.
The only vehicles the new architecture will not be used for, Jaguar Land Rover says, are the large Land Rover SUVs and Jaguar sports cars. That suggests that it will be the basis of the next XF large premium sedan and station wagon as well as future smaller Land Rovers. It already shares some electrical components with Land Rover, Popham revealed.
Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India's Tata Motors, has spent $2.4 billion on the new architecture, the company said. That is substantial, but not overly ambitious, said analyst Michael Gartside, head of Europe at PwC Autofacts.
"JLR appears to be near the top end of the industry from a margin perspective," he said, "and this should help it recoup the investment on lower volumes than OEMs operating with lower profit margins."
But the plan should result in Jaguar growing substantially, Gartside said.
"The two sectors they are planning to enter, the mid-sized crossover and mid-sized premium sedan, are much larger volume segments than those in which they currently compete," he said.
Jaguar pulled out of the mid-sized premium segment when it discontinued the X-Type sedan and station wagon in 2009. The X-Type, developed under former Jaguar owner Ford Motor Co., was based on the Ford Mondeo and was largely considered a failure, even though it was on sale for eight years.
Thomson and Jaguar design chief Ian Callum were closely involved in the development of the new rear-wheel-drive architecture and were specific in what they wanted.
"We asked for big wheels right at the ends of the car, a low bonnet, short overhangs, very low cabins," Thomson said. "We wanted the way the car sits on the wheels to be very authoritative."
According to the Bernstein report, the cost of developing the new mid-sized Jaguar sedan is "tremendous," citing the expense of the rwd aluminum platform and developing the new four-cylinder engine range.
But Warburton believes cars such as the crossover built off the same platform will help recoup costs.
"While we fear the sedan will not be significantly profitable the project will be carried by other variants," he wrote. "But these are distant problems. Right now JLR volumes -- and returns -- look set to climb fast."