Europe steps out at top US show

Jaguar making a big push to boost its American sales

The XKR-S, Jaguar's latest and most powerful sedan, was making its first appearance when it went on show in Los Angeles. Photo / Supplied
The XKR-S, Jaguar's latest and most powerful sedan, was making its first appearance when it went on show in Los Angeles. Photo / Supplied

It comes second to the Detroit motor show in the American automotive calendar but the Los Angeles auto show was dominated by foreign manufactures, with Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche and Mercedes, Hyundai and Toyota among the firms unveiling new models.

Most of the 50 new models on show at the LA convention centre will not be new to European or British drivers, but among the most important models are the new RAV4 from Japanese carmaker Toyota, the Beetle Cabriolet from VW and Porsche's newly-unveiled Cayman sports car.

One of the most interesting was the Jaguar Land Rover stand which made a splash with the US premieres of its third-generation Range Rover and its Jaguar F-Type.

On show for the first time was the Jaguar XKR-S, the company's latest and most powerful saloon.

The F-Type and Range Rover have been displayed before but take on new relevance for the expanding firm in California, the biggest and most lucrative car market in the world.

In California - unlike the wider American market, in which the Big Three (GM, Ford and Chrysler) have 45 per cent of the market - European cars often outnumber US-badged cars, says JLR's North American president, Andy Goss.

"It is a really important market for us and Los Angeles is second only to the New York area for us in terms of Range Rover sales."

Jaguar has had a tougher time in America because of reliability problems, a poor choice of engines and a lack of all-wheel drive but the F-Type and XFR-S mark the start of a new offensive in which the XJ and XJ models get V6 engines (previously they'd had only the larger V8) and all-wheel drive, a crucial item for American luxury saloon buyers.

Jaguar design director Ian Callum, who created both cars described the XFR-S as "something very special".

He also suggested that he'd like to give the new F-Type a hardcore version to rival the Porsche GT3 high-performance sports car.


-Independent

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 23 Jul 2014 06:03:41 Processing Time: 770ms