By on January 8, 2018

2017 Jaguar XF and XE - Images: Jaguar

It’s odd that distinctly British popular music dried up around the time the last vestiges of British Leyland disappeared from the nation. Rover Group bit the dust at the turn of the century, with its associated nameplates finding new homes in unlikely places.

Perhaps we have cumbersome, money-losing car conglomerates to thank for New Wave and Britpop. Maybe the Spice Girls killed everything. Who knows.

Jaguar and Land Rover, having once shared the same BL umbrella, were already orphans by that time, ultimately finding each other again thanks to the temporary love of foster parent Ford. Now owned by India’s Tata Motors and nowhere near as financially dodgy, Jaguar Land Rover is on a product tear. It’s these new models you can thank for the automaker’s record sales year in 2017 — both globally and in the United States.

Don’t thank traditional sedans.

Globally, JLR’s 2017 volume surpassed 2016 — another record year — by 7 percent. The Jaguar brand recorded a 20 percent uptick in global sales, with Land Rover posting a 2 percent increase. In the U.S., rising sales of both brands saw JLR carve out a 9 percent volume increase. The growth was split between Jaguar (up some 27 percent) and Land Rover (up 1 percent).

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Image: Jaguar

However, it’s not a continued love for all models across the range that’s boosting sales. Indeed, Jaguar’s sedans posted steep slumps in December. The compact XE, arriving at U.S. dealers in May 2016, ended its first full year on the market with an understandable year-to-date sales increase. Still, December brought a 39.2 percent year-over-year sales decline.

The midsize XF sank 29 percent last month — its fourth December decline — ending the year with a volume loss of 31.7 percent. The stately XJ fared no better, falling 39.7 percent in December. Total volume for 2017 was 29 percent lower than 2016’s figure.

In the sporting category, there was a true increase to be found with the F-Type, but not much of one. December sales rose 0.8 percent, year-over-year — meaning three extra buyers took home an F-Type. For the year, sales rose 0.96 percent, but let’s round that up to 1 percent in the interest of charity.

Jaguar F-Pace 2.0TD - Image: Jaguar

It was the F-Pace SUV that really brought home Jag’s bacon last year. Introduced in May 2016, the F-Pace’s first full year, coupled with first-full-year XE sales, delivered that impressive growth number. Sales have since reached a plateau, but the arrival of the smaller E-Pace SUV early this year should add significant volume to the brand’s balance sheet. The confusingly named I-Pace electric SUV will tempt green buyers not longer after that.

A bevy of fresh faces raised Land Rover’s fortunes in 2017. The next-generation Discovery arrived mid-year, replacing the boxy and beloved LR4 and sending Disco sales into the lower stratosphere. Discovery sales rose 173.2 percent in December. The lookalike Discovery Sport saw its sales drop 11.6 percent last month, for a year-to-date decline of less than half a percent.

Land Rover’s growing Range Rover family welcomed the Velar late last year, adding some 6,152 sales to the brand’s tally. The classic, top-flight Range Rover saw its sales rise 4.4 percent in the U.S. in 2017, while the Range Rover Sport watched its sales tumble 11.4 percent in a slowly declining market. Meanwhile, the aging Evoque lost 18 sales in December, year-over-year, but closed out 2017 with a sales gain of 8.2 percent.

Looking at these figures, it’s a head-scratcher as to why Land Rover thinks the Range Rover name could do with a non-traditional vehicle, perhaps even a sedan.

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

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20 Comments on “British Invasion, Part 2: Jaguar Land Rover Sales Soar in U.S., No Thanks to Cars...”

  • avatar

    A Land Rover car? That would be like Jeep coming out with a sedan. You know how well that went over with the AMC Eagle. Although, in today’s market, the AMC Eagle might have been a hit.

    • 0 avatar

      You mean Chrysler’s Eagle brand that replaced AMC? The AMC Concord AWD and Eagle AWD model sold well. The Eagle brand wasn’t supported, and had rebadged Dodge models. All Iacocca wanted was Jeep, and converted the AMC dealerships that had Jeep to Ram/Jeep. Other dealerships gradually became Chrysler or Dodge until they dropped the Eagle brand altogether.

      Anyway, there are no “traditional sedans”. They’re all 4-door coupes, with low rear seat cushions and limited rear headroom, and REALLY limited rear vision.

      The CUVs are just station wagons that allow more rear headroom and higher cushions that the traditional sedans had, since the rear roof slope is now over what used to be the trunk on a traditional sedan.

      In their quest for swoop, designers are busy making the formerly vertical rear window smaller and less useful. Even GM is doing it to the Equinox, squeezing the glass area and visibility people liked in the original design.

      Eventually only the 4-door fullsize pickups will be left, and their tall boxes don’t do much for rear visibility either. Still, if you want a RWD, V8 powered, 80 inch wide 4-door sedan, the pickup is the only vehicle left. Granny fits in the back but will need a ladder to get up there.

  • avatar

    The title makes no sense, since Jaguar and Land Rover are NOT British, but Indian. It should naturally be changed to “Indian Invasion”.

  • avatar

    I just got back from Germany and saw several Audi, Jaguar, and even a Ford Fusion station wagon hauling a** down the left lane on the Autobahn. Man those are cool. Though my silly Toyota C-HR hybrid rental put in a decent showing at 100 mph.

    • 0 avatar

      I was in Norway last year and in the countryside it’s the land of station wagons, though rural speed limits are very low. In the cities electrics are taking over, though.

    • 0 avatar

      I had the same reaction in Stockholm last fall, lots of beautiful wagons, especially the Volvos.
      (the bright green McLaren parked in front of our hotel was nothing to sneeze at either!)

  • avatar

    Not surprisingly, Jaguar has been struggling with its sedans in the US market as they have made the same mistakes as Cadillac.

    Over-emphasis on performance/handling (which includes expensive lightweight platforms) at the expense of interior space and luxury.

  • avatar

    Please don’t buy the E-Pace.

  • avatar

    Dunno I think a big Range Rover sedan will sell largely because with the Velar and other models they have strong styling cues that will work on a big luxury Electric car.

    Why do they want to do it? Making a proper electric 4×4 may be a challenge too far right now, so having a toe in this sector of the market insured against a downturn in the SUV market. Maybe Jeep should ponder that one!

    • 0 avatar

      CR gave the Land Rover/Range Rover a top rating as the Luxury SUV to own or Lease.

      Disciples of CR no doubt will pay attention but a discerning buyer would be wise to look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit with air suspension and automatic 4×4.

      We owned a 2012 V6 Grand Cherokee and it is only superseded by the 2016 Sequoia 4×4 we own now.

      IOW, no Indian JLR product for us.

  • avatar

    Just one other point Land Rover sales would be stronger if they weren’t switching the RR and RR sport over to the facelifted models in the last quarter of 2017. Also the Velar sales will ramp up this month thanks to dealers being allowed to offer the cheaper models in the Range!

  • avatar

    Maybe it’s because people won’t think you’re driving an airport limo?

    Or realtors have Teutonic fatigue?

  • avatar

    If tailgate to front seatbacks are 6+ feet, the floor with rear seats folded is flat, and it comes with some semblance of a tow rating, that wagon will be a great car for hauling a Thruxton to track weekends at faraway tracks….. OTOH, if you can’t fit a decent mattress flat in the back of it, I’d rather just get a sedan.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It’s uncanny how similar the XE looks to the old XF.

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