Land Rover got its 2006 US sales campaign off to a barnstorming start, figures from parent group Ford showed last night.
The Solihull 4x4 specialist set a new monthly record by increasing registrations by 34 per cent to 3,693 in January.
Figures were a continuation of 2005, which turned out to be Land Rover's best ever year in the important American market.
With no fewer than three new models in the showrooms - Range Rover Sport, the LR3 Discovery and the 2006 specification Range Rover - the company shifted a total of more than 46,000 units last year, a rise of 30 per cent over 2004.
Analysts say that as well as the perceived quality of the new models, Land Rover is gaining from a fundamental shift in the US market.
With the price of petrol soaring, consumers are turning their backs on the big SUV gas-guzzlers that are mainly built on light truck chassis.
Instead they are queuing up to buy more economical, carbased off-roaders.
Last month's total compared with 2,760 in January 2005 with Range Rover Sport, on the market for less than a year, making the biggest contribution with sales of 1,400.
LR3 was close behind at 1,369, a rise of 4.5 per cent on the year, and Range Rover was seven per cent up at 917.
Jaguar, Land Rover's stablemate in Premier Automotive Group, Ford's collection of European luxury car brands, continued to decline with a 29 per cent fall in sales in January following on from a 34 per cent drop in 2005.
Sales last month totalled 1,596 versus 2,245 last time, and the Birmingham-built S-Type was the only one of Jaguar's four models to stay in positive territory - rising by seven per cent to 578.
Jaguar is having a torrid time in the world's luxury car markets, facing a combination of fierce competition and adverse exchange rates.
The loss-making company says it is less worried about volumes than it is about selling higher margin, and therefore more profitable, models at the premium end of all the segments it competes in.
Despite that, there is no doubt that fingers are being kept crossed among everyone at Jaguar that the new XK sports car going into the showrooms throughout the world in the next few weeks will convert the acclaim given to it by the motoring press into sales.
Don Hume, a spokesman for both Jaguar and Land Rover, told The Birmingham Post last night that so far "well over" 4,000 advance orders had been received for the XK.
"There is a lot of interest in XK and that is giving us hope for the coming year," he added.
So far as Ford as a whole is concerned, January yielded a welcome two per cent boost to sales, which totalled nearly 206,000.
Like its bigger Detroit competitor, General Motors, the Blue Oval has been badly hit by a combination of market factors.
Soaring petrol prices have badly dented sales of those staples of the US car market, SUVs and pick-ups, costs have rocketed and more efficient Far Eastern manufacturers have been making big inroads into its home market.
Ford, although profitable, unlike GM, recently announced plans to chop its North American workforce by up to 30,000 between now and 2012 and close 14 factories in an attempt to rebuild its