British car maker Jaguar is to launch its first off-roader, entering the popular luxury SUV sector. As Ciara Lee reports it's a big departure for the 80-year-old brand which has turned itself around over the past six years.
It's known for its sporty sedans, but British car maker Jaguar is changing gear. The model is under wraps but the 80-year-old brand will launch the F-PACE off-roader next year and enter the luxury sports utility sector. That's long been the domaine of its parent company Jaguar Land Rover, which owns the Range Rover brand. They're popular with women and families. And IG's Brenda Kelly says there's room for more models. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IG MARKET ANALYST, BRENDA KELLY, SAYING: "Clearly the SUV sector is a growing area and it's something Jaguar has been clearly missing out on over a number of years. So I think it was inevitable they would try to line up and compete with the rivals in this particular space. So I think in the grand scheme of things the Jaguar mark is sought after. So the fact that it is getting in to this area does imply that it would be quite successful in it as well." JLR is also launching two diesel-powered Range Rover models in North America, which offer fuel savings. It's another sign the British automaker is moving into the fast lane - six years after India's Tata Motors bought what was then a loss maker. Andy Goss, the company's Global Sales Director, says 2014 saw impressive growth. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDY GOSS, JAGUAR LAND ROVER GLOBAL SALES DIRECTOR, SAYING: "Land Rover up six percent, Jaguar up 9 percent, Jaguar almost its biggest sales performance in almost a decade. And Land Rover's biggest globally. Sales records in 28 markets." The global auto industry was hit hard by the economic downturn, particularly in Europe. But the luxury car segment proved an exception. The new Jaguar model will be built in the UK, creating 1300 jobs. JLR hopes it will compete with the big German SUVs made by Audi, BMW and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz.