Jaguar uses the occasion of its U.S. intro of the XKR sports coupe and convertible to do a little horn blowing over its sales success for 1999.

Jaguar North America President Mike Dale boasts that overall U.S. Jaguar sales are up year to date, due largely to the introduction of the all-new S-Type. However, through the first nine months of '99, XJ sedan sales were 10,334, down 11.6%, and XK8 models sales were 4,206, down 4%. At the current pace, Jaguar expects its total U.S. sales to hit at about 35,000 — nearly four times the meager 8,600 U.S. sales recorded just five years ago.

Mr. Dale, who will retire from his post in May of next year, notes that it has been 10 years since the British marque was bought by Ford Motor Co. The nature of the relationship between the small Jaguar with its mammoth parent has been “very positive,” Mr. Dale says. “The backing you get from them is tremendous,” adds Russ Varney, chief program engineer for the XK series.

Mr. Dale maintains that Jaguar has been able to retain much of what makes it unique both because of and in spite of the Ford influence. He credits that mostly to a dedicated Jaguar team, which has clung to what is called the brand's “core mark values.”

The introduction of the supercharged XKR coupe and convertible to the Jaguar lineup will add about 1,200 sales for the 2000 model year, says Mr. Varney. The XKR will base at $76,800 and the convertible $81,800. Mr. Dale says with four lines — XJ, XJ S-Type and the new X400 small car due in 2001 — “Jaguar in 10 years will be selling 10 times as many cars as it did in 1992 (8,681 units).”