The storied British brands Jaguar and Land Rover brought three new premium vehicles to the Los Angeles Auto Show, hoping to make a splash in its most important regional market.
Now one company under the name Jaguar Land Rover, the automaker launched a redesigned Range Rover, F-Type two-seat convertible and the XFR-S, a new premium sedan that will sell only about 100 copies in the U.S. during the 2014 model year.
Company executives describe the L.A. show as critical to their growth strategy, calling it ground zero for their “modern day British invasion.”
“Brands are made in America,” said Andy Goss, Jaguar Land Rover North America’s president. “And there are not any places in the States more important than the L.A. market.”
The company has sold about 45,000 vehicles in the U.S. through the end of October. That’s up about 13% from the same period a year ago but lags the overall industry growth rate slightly. The U.S. market accounts for about 15% of Jaguar Land Rover’s global sales.
Now a subsidiary of Tata Motors, India's largest automobile company, Jaguar Land Rover has invested heavily in research and new products, he said. The Jaguar F-Type convertible, Jaguar XFR-S sedan and Range Rover, are all making their North American or global debuts.
Full coverage: 2012 L.A. Auto Show
The $99,000 XFR-S model will be the most powerful sedan in Jaguar history, Goss said.
The next-generation Land Rover Range Rover — which the company calls the world’s first sport-utility vehicle with an all-aluminum body — will lose 700 pounds and gain performance and agility. Fuel economy on the new model jumps 14% to a still-thirsty 16 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. It goes on sale in December with a $83,500 starting price.
Jaguar F-Type, a new rear-drive, two-seat convertible, is also wrapped in aluminum, keeping the weight down to about 3,500 pounds. It offers three engine options, ranging from 340 to 495 horsepower. Designed to evoke Jaguar’s iconic E-type convertible, it goes on sale in early summer, starting at $69,000 and will compete most directly with Porsche.
“It will provide the emotional fulcrum that the brand has missed for quite a long time,” Goss said.