British car companies bullish over US sales

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BRITISH car makers announced impressively increased sales and brighter prospects as America's leading motor show opened yesterday in Detroit.

Land Rover, launching its Discovery model into the US at the show, said it expected sales to triple over the next two years. Jaguar and Rolls-Royce also announced healthy sales.

Land Rover said sales in 1993 to the US rose 16 per cent to a record 4,907 cars, worth dollars 221m. It forecasts that Discovery, which goes on sale in the spring, would help boost this figure to around dollars 600m and sales of 15,000 within two years.

Jaguar's 1993 sales to the US rose 50 per cent to 12,750, with a forecast of 15,000 this year. American women drivers are clamouring to buy the popular dollars 60,000 convertible XJS model. The value of Jaguar sales rose to around dollars 650m in 1993. Even Rolls-Royce, which like other luxury manufacturers has been hit by the American gas- guzzling tax and a luxury tax that adds 10 per cent to prices, held sales at the same level as 1992.

Land Rover took on an extra 600 staff last year to cope with increased demand as production rose 20 per cent.