Tata Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar brand, trying to build sales in the U.S., is starting a nine-month push that includes a partnership with Playboy magazine as it introduces all-wheel-drive versions of its XF and XJ sedans.
The company is looking to all-wheel-drive to broaden Jaguar’s appeal in cold-weather states before bringing the F- Type sports car to showrooms next year, Andy Goss, president of Jaguar Land Rover North America, said in an interview. Events to boost sales include a New York ice-rink promotion and a California party co-hosted by Playboy.
“This is probably the most important nine months for this company in a decade,” Goss, 54, said by telephone.
Jaguar is the smaller of the two Tata-owned brands in the U.S. Jaguar sales gained 1.7 percent to 7,517 units this year through July while Land Rover increased 21 percent to 24,311, according to researcher Autodata Corp. The company expects the all-wheel-drive sedans to help Jaguar increase sales this year to about 15,000 and more than 20,000 in 2013, Goss said. Jaguar had 12,276 U.S. deliveries in 2011.
Jaguar’s lack of all-wheel-drive in cold-weather markets such as New York has left it uncompetitive against Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s BMW brand and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz.
“Eighty-two percent of the volume in the Snow Belt states is all-wheel-drive from our competitors,” Goss said. “We’ve been fishing well in a very small and decreasing pond and now we’ve got the opportunity to compete more appropriately head-on with some of the German brands.”
The all-wheel-drive XJ and XF go on sale in the U.S. in December and January, respectively, Stuart Schorr, a Jaguar Land Rover spokesman, said in an e-mail.
Jaguar today is slated to being a three-day “Chill NY” publicity event in Manhattan to highlight the all-wheel-drive offerings. The brand tomorrow will host a party at Pebble Beach, California, along with Playboy for customers in advance of the Concours d’Elegance on Aug. 19.
Tata Motors is based in Mumbai while Jaguar Land Rover North America is based in Mahwah, New Jersey.