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China likely to be top market for Jaguar again in coming year

 

For the second year in a row, China will be the biggest market for Jaguar Land Rover in 2013, the company's CEO Ralf Speth said.

The new leadership in China has pledged to maintain steady GDP growth, which spells opportunity for Jaguar and Land Rover products, Speth said.

The British producer of luxury cars delivered about 73,000 vehicles in China last year, when the country overtook the United States to become its biggest market worldwide.

"I believe it will also be the case this year," Speth said.

He showed great confidence in the company's development in China despite signs of decelerated growth in the luxury car market in the first few months this year.

The carmaker's China sales in January and February increased by 20 percent from a year earlier. In contrast, its sales surged by 70 percent year-to-year last year during the same period.

The same slowdowns have also been reported by German luxury car manufacturers, which currently lead the domestic market.

The Chinese market is such a big market, and it can offer enough space for the sustained growth of Jaguar Land Rover, Speth said.

"The power of China is so great, and the power of development there is just sensational," he said.

New products

The carmaker is likely to launch some of its latest attractive products in China this year, including the next-generation Range Rover Sport and the high-performance Jaguar XJR.

Both models, together with the Jaguar XKR-S GT, made their global debut at the ongoing New York International Auto Show.

China likely to be top market for Jaguar again in coming year

The new Range Rover Sport features a high-strength all-aluminum structure that significantly reduces the car's weight, improving fuel economy.

Buyers have a choice of models with a 340-horsepower supercharged V6 engine or a 510-hp supercharged V8 engine. Each features optimized ride, handling and steering. Speth said that the product is perfectly tailored to fit China.

With the ability to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour (96.5 kilometers per hour) in just 5 seconds, the 4.85-meter-long model is billed as the fastest, most responsive and agile Land Rover ever.

The XJR has a maximum power output of 550 hp, making it the most powerful XJ sedan ever produced. Speth said that he believes the local customers with the highest standards for luxury and power will fall for this top-of-the-line Jaguar.

Previously, at the Geneva auto show in early March, the CEO announced that the company will invest 2.75 billion pounds ($4.16 billion) into product development this year and roll out eight all-new or upgraded products.

It is part of the company's plan to release 40 new or updated models from 2012 to 2016.

Every year about 14 to 16 percent of revenue at Jaguar Land Rover goes to R&D, a bigger proportion than what is invested by many competitors in the industry, Speth said.

He added that the company's current portfolio only offers a limited range of the products that can compete effectively with the world's premium car models, indicating potential is there for the company to grow "horizontally and vertically".

But he noted that there's no need at the moment to have an entry-level model smaller than the current Freelander or Evoque.

He said the company's current development efforts are focused on reducing fuel consumption and emissions while giving customers as much space as possible.

 

 
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