Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

NEW YORK – Jaguar Land Rover reveals an ambitious growth plan here that calls for 40 new products over the next five years.

JLR CEO Ralf Speth, speaking at the New York auto show, calls the strategy the “most ambitious growth program” in the history of the two storied British brands.

To fulfill the plan, Speth notes JLR is in the midst of hiring more than 1,000 engineers at its technical headquarters in the U.K. The engineers will “push the boundaries of high-tech innovation in developing new models,” he says.

Speth credits owner India-based Tata Motors for investing in JLR with a long-term vision of the future. He does not disclose the exact amount of the planned outlays, but says JLR will be “spending millions of pounds on research working with suppliers and academia, and billions of pounds on product creation.”

Details about the new vehicles on the drawing board also are being kept under wraps, but Speth hints some models may be in segments JLR currently does not compete in. And others, he says, will be focused toward specific regions, including North America, which he says “remains one of our most important markets globally.”

JLR has enjoyed considerable success since Tata purchased the two brands from Ford in 2008 for $2.3 billion.

JLR’s global sales rose 20% last year, led by “excellent growth” in key markets such as Germany, Russia, China and North America, Speth says.

The group hopes to build on that with the introduction of a handful of key models at the show, including the ’12 Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition, the all-new ’12 Range Rover Evoque and the refreshed Jaguar XF and XJ sedans, as well as the XK sports coupe.

The Jaguars benefit from several enhancements, including upgraded interiors and exteriors. The Ranger Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition, which stickers at $170,000, boasts a “super-yacht inspired” teak load floor with metal and leather detailing, a machined aluminum laptop table and two Apple iPads integrated into the rear entertainment system. Only 500 will be sold worldwide.

Later this year, JLR launches the Evoque, the smallest Ranger Rover ever produced. Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design director, says it should draw new customers to the brand.

“The unique style of the Range Rover Evoque will attract a new generation of Range Rover customer who have never considered an SUV before, such as premium coupe buyers who would like to make a bold statement.”

The Evoque will start at $45,000 when it hits U.S. dealerships later this spring.

Meanwhile, Speth announces former Porsche executive Andy Goss will join the company as president of Jaguar Land Rover North America. Goss, 53, replaces Gary Temple, who plans to retire later this year.