Jaguar dealers gave the departing Mike Dale a standing ovation at the NADA convention make meeting, after he thanked them for record sales in 1999.
Dale, 64, retires this spring after more than 30 years at Jaguar's U.S. subsidiary. Executive Vice President Mike O'Driscoll is his designated successor. O'Driscoll also attended the make meeting.
'For the first time in history, a British car company is making it in the United States, and it is not on quicksand. Its foundation is on concrete,' Dale said after the meeting. Ford Motor Co. bought Jaguar in 1990.
With new cars on the way, Jaguar expects to set sales records at least four years in a row, worldwide and in the United States.
Jaguar introduced the S-Type sedan last year, which fueled a jump in worldwide sales from around 50,000 in 1998 to about 75,000 in 1999. Worldwide sales in 2000 are expected to be around 90,000, with the first full calendar year of S-Type sales. Jaguar launches its BMW 3-series fighter, code-named X400, in mid-2001.
Jaguar Cars Ltd. Managing Director Jonathan Browning said Jaguar also is likely to build a sports car based on the F-Type concept car shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this month. Browning also confirmed Jaguar will build a successor to the current XJ sedan.
Jaguar had its own separate make meeting - which, coincidentally, was in the room next to the Lincoln Mercury make meeting. The Volvo make meeting was earlier the same day. All three belong to Ford's Premier Automotive Group, along with tiny Aston Martin. Dale said after the Jaguar make meeting that dealers had no questions about the Premier group.
Ford is considering moving the U.S. headquarters for Jaguar and Volvo to California from Mahwah, N.J. and Rockleigh, N.J., respectively. Lincoln Mercury already is on the West Coast.