Indian-Owned Jaguar and Land Rover Boost US Sales

There was a lot of eye rolling and worried looks when Ford sold Jaguar to India’s Tata. But based on the latest December figures, maybe there wasn’t reason to worry.

Jaguar sold 1,246 cars in December in the U.S., a 24% increase from last year. Land Rover sold 3,595 of its rugged SUVs, a 37% boost from a year ago. For the full year, combined sales of both brands dipped 14%, not bad considering how the overall auto industry saw sales plunge even more. Needless to say, execs are happy:

jagxjx large“Three consecutive months of Jaguar and Land Rover growth is a great way to end 2009, and a sign of better times to come,” said Jaguar-Land Rover North America President Gary Temple. “We start 2010 with sales momentum, strong product lineups for both brands, and the launch of the 2011 Jaguar XJ on its way. It is going to be a very exciting year.”

Jaguar and Land Rover are owned by a company now best known as the maker of the world’s cheapest car, the $2,500 Nano that plies the rough roads of India. Many were unsure what would happen to the storied British brands in the hands of a third-world automaker. But Tata looks like it’s succeeding — so far.