Jaguar Land Rover North America LLC sold its first 10,016 Jaguar SUVs in the United States in the final eight months of 2016. The new F-Pace was a major factor contributing to Jaguar’s 116-percent year-over-year growth last year.
Jaguar also reported a 47-percent jump in passenger car sales â€” yes,Â car salesÂ â€” in 2016.
As a result, no auto brand operating in the United States posted more significant sales growth in 2016.
So, Jaguar’s back? Not quite.
Globally, Jaguar Land Rover â€” and even the Jaguar brand itself â€” hasÂ neverÂ been more popular. Jaguar sold a record-high 148,730 new vehicles around the world in 2016. Three-in-ten were F-Paces.
Around the world, 25 percent of the vehicles sold by Tata’s JLR in 2016 were Jaguars, up seven points compared with 2015.
Yet in the U.S., specifically, Jaguar’s sales in 2016 were only half as strong in 2016 as they were 14 years ago.
In 2002, Jaguar USA, then under Ford Motor Company’s control, sold 61,204 new vehicles. Jaguar’s lineup was strikingly different and decidedly retro.
The entry-level Ford Mondeo-related X-Type accounted for more than half of the Jaguars sold in America in 2002, and sales of the flagship XJ were twice as numerous as they are now â€” and still on the rise.Jaguar got back into the entry-luxury sports sedan game in the second quarter of 2016, launching the new XE in concert with the new F-Pace. XE sales are steadily rising, but Jaguar is only selling around 800 XEs per month in the U.S., roughly one-third the volume the X-Type generatedÂ at its peak.
Jaguar also introduced in 2016 a new XF, the brand’s mid-range car.Â XF sales consequently climbed to a three-year high.
In the passenger car world, “new” did not necessarily equal “more popular” in 2016. The launch of a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class â€” a segment leader in the XF’s arena â€” resulted in a 9-percent year-over-year decline. Naturally, the XF remains a low-volume car, but the new XF was able to ride Jaguar’s wave, posting improvements in eight of the last twelve months.
Jaguar’s F-Type, the lone remaining sports car in the range, was the only model in the lineup to lose sales compared with 2015. F-Type volume slid 12 percent, a loss of 560 units. Jaguar XJ sales grew 6 percent, a modest uptick of 223 units compared with 2015.
Even if Jaguar’s passenger car lineup hadÂ not recorded growth in 2016, the surge produced by the brand’s first-ever SUV would have been more than enough to make Jaguar America’s fastest-growing auto brand. Since the F-Pace launch in May, four out of every ten Jaguars sold in America were F-Paces.
Of course, rapid percentage growth at a niche brand such as Jaguar (or Volvo, a former Ford PAG brand that jumped 18 percent) is easier to produce than at mainstream volume brands. Gains in market share were much more significant at Ram, Jeep, Subaru, Nissan, and Honda. Those brands averaged growth of an extra 56,500 sales in 2016.
Jaguar, admittedly with an impressive response to a wise investment, added merelyÂ 16,777 sales to its U.S. ledger.
Yet even if Jaguar carries 2016’s Q4 sales pace through the whole of 2017, the brand’s dealers will still be selling roughly 30-percent fewer new vehicles than they did in 2002.
Ram, Jeep, Subaru, Nissan, and Honda, on the other hand, all reportedÂ all-time record U.S. sales in 2016.
Timothy Cain is the founder ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcarÂ and on Facebook.