Despite the rise of the SUV and decline in sales of sedans, the head of Jaguar Land Rover believes the saloon still has a crucial role to play for the British automaker.

Speaking to Automotive News Europe after the firm confirmed plans to cut some 4 500 jobs, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth claimed demand for SUVs was already “levelling out”.

“At the moment SUVs are in very high demand and their relative growth rates are strong, but we already see it levelling out,” he told the publication.

In the first 11 months of 2018, global sales of the XE fell 21 percent (to 28 402 units), while the XF dropped 23 percent (to 29 563 units) over the same period.

“You have to be in these segments to be competitive and achieve the right volume to generate economies of scale," Speth said, adding that sedans would also eventually benefit from the automaker’s electrification plans.

“Whenever you think you go away from sedans, you have to consider new CO2 regulations. By 2030 and 2040, you are looking for reductions in the order of magnitude of 40 percent.

“That means from a pure physical point of view the concept of a sedan is far more favourable than SUV.”