Jaguar: F-Type, awd will boost sales
Michael Levitan: “For me, being in the Northeast, awd makes us very relevant as a luxury brand.”
ORLANDO -- Jaguar sales will rise this year with the addition of four- and six-cylinder engines, all-wheel drive and the new F-Type roadster, dealers and executives said after the make meeting.
But they would not predict how much sales will grow. U.S. sales have languished for several years and declined 2 percent last year to 12,011 cars in an overall market that was up 13 percent.
"My expectation is our increases will be substantially higher due to different drivetrains and the introduction of a new model," said Michael Levitan, chairman of the newly formed 12-member Jaguar Land Rover dealer council. "For me, being in the Northeast, awd makes us very relevant as a luxury brand today."
Levitan is COO of Long Island Automotive Group, which owns two Jaguar stores in New York: Jaguar Huntington and Jaguar Southampton.
Dealers also expect a boost from the new F-Type convertible and "the different customer it will bring," said Jim Snell, owner of Jaguar Land Rover Austin in Texas. "It is a sports car, something that will be more of a halo car for us and bring some attention to the Jaguar brand."
The F-Type goes on sale in May or June with a base price of $69,895, including shipping. Dealers said allocation numbers were not discussed at the meeting.
Dealers were told Jaguar will have a consistent marketing campaign in 2013, Levitan said. Three TV commercials began in mid-January. One features the XF coupe and convertible with its new four-cylinder engine and the two others are awd messages, one for the Snow Belt and the other more performance-oriented, said Chris Marchand, executive vice president of operations for Jaguar Land Rover North America.
Levitan said the marketing commitment signaled "that there will be a consistent effort going forward -- they are standing behind this brand."
Jaguar executives emphasized a push on technical training led by Jeff Jennings, who was hired as director of training last fall.
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