British Luxury Brands On A Comeback With Hot New Cars
Thursday, July 19, 2012
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British automakers have rallied in recent years, and now is the time to celebrate them, with a handful of exciting new sports cars debuting at the Goodwood Festival of Speed over the weekend.
Many of the British brands are enjoying a resurgence in sales, including Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley Motors and Rolls-Royce. Also noteworthy is the fact that Jaguar improved the most out of any brand ranked on J.D. Power & Associates’ 2012 Initial Quality Study, vaulting from 20th place last year all the way up to second place this year.
Even newcomer McLaren Automotive is making impressive headway. It has dealerships in 22 countries and has sold more than 1,000 of its MP4-12C sports cars after only one year of operation. Not bad for a startup whose parent company mostly produces multimillion dollar Formula One cars.
Most automakers with sports cars show off their new models to the tens of thousands of spectators at the festival, and the British brands did not disappoint this year. Here is a rundown of what they showcased at the four-day event, which runs through July 1.
Jaguar has been a sports car company without a true sports car for decades. That will change with the F-Type, cloaked in busy camouflage and shown for the first time publicly with its convertible top down at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. To leave no doubt of just how much sports-car heritage the company has, Jaguar ran old C-Type, D-Type and E-Type sports cars in the hill climb before sending its new torchbearer along.
The F-Type driven at Goodwood was a production prototype with a supercharged V6 engine that is new for Jaguar. A supercharged V8 will also be available. Unlike the current Jaguar XK coupe and convertible, which are large and heavy luxury “grand tourers,” rather than outright sports cars, the F-Type is much smaller and lighter, designed to compete against cars like the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Ferrari 458 Italia and Porsche 911. As with other Jaguars, the F-Type’s body will be made entirely of aluminum. It goes on sale middle of next year as a 2014 model.
Likely it will help Jaguar continue to build sales momentum. Through May of this year, Jaguar sales in the U.S. are up 19 percent compared with the same time period last year. For sister company Land Rover, U.S. sales are up as well, by 23 percent through May. Both British brands seem to be flourishing under Mumbai-based Tata Motors’ hands-off stewardship that gives them full operational autonomy.
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