Land Rover was last night celebrating a record month for sales in the US after several new models hit the showrooms.
The Solihull off-road specialist scored its best ever July sales result, shifting 59,080 units, a rise of 103 per cent over the same month last year.
Its performance steered Jaguar/Land Rover, key elements of Ford's Premier Automotive Group of European luxury brands that also takes in Aston Martin and Volvo, to an overall 13 per cent sales improvement.
Jaguar itself was 42 per cent down on the month with total sales of 2,353 compared with 4,045 in the same month last year - a continuation of a trend that has been running for some months and which has seen its US sales for the year so far fall by 30 per cent to 19,515.
The company says that ' s because it is refocusing its sales and marketing efforts on its higher margin models such as the XJ saloon and away from its top-selling X-Type.
The big winners for Land Rover were the 2006 year model Range Rover and the new Range Rover Sport, both of which appeared in the showrooms for the first time last month.
Range Rover was 28 per cent ahead at 1,509 while the Sport sold 1,805 units.
The new generation Discovery, badged LR3 in the States, continued to do well in its first year with sales of 1,512.
Freelander, the baby of the range, continued to disappoint, registering a 38 per cent fall in sales at 179.
Over the first seven months of the year, Land Rover was 24 per cent up at 22,951.
"We had our best ever July sales last month and it was also our best month overall since December 2004," a Land Rover spokeswoman said.
"It has been a fantastic month and the indications are that the trend will continue for the rest of the year.
"Our new models, the LR3, Range Rover Sport and the new Range Rover have been very well received in America."
Ford as a whole also had its best ever July with total sales of 366,548, a rise of 29 per cent over the same month in 2004.
Meanwhile, last night, thousands of new Ford cars due to be delivered to showrooms throughout Britain were stranded at the docks after keys "disappeared" as workers staged a strike over pay and jobs.
Ansa Logistics, which transports vehicles across the country, said about 2,000 cars had been locked at depots in Avonmouth and Liverpool.
The company is to seek an injunction in the High Court today after complaining of illegal secondary picketing at Avonmouth, Bathgate in Scotland and Portbury.
Members of the Transport and General Workers' Union at Ansa L o g i s t i c s started two weeks of i n d u s t r i a l action on Monday.
About 350 drivers, fitters and support staff are involved in the action, which the union said was in protest-at wage cuts and compulsory-redundancies. TGWU official Ron Webb said deliveries of new cars would be "seriously affected" within days of the walkout starting.
Ansa said in a statement: "We are surprised that union members have, in effect, rejected a redundancy package which must be one of the most generous ever seen in the logistics industry, averaging £60,000 per person, and more in some cases.
"We are using alternative ports and import centres, contractors and other resources which are all part of a professional contingency plan and deliveries of vehicles have been maintained over the last 24 hours.
"Union members have also illegally locked more than 2,000 cars at depots in Liverpool and Avonmouth, depriving the company of the ability to move them."