Land Rover insisted yesterday that it was still on course to smash last year's record sales figures - despite chalking up a near 15 per cent downturn during September.
The Solihull 4x4 maker sold 7,331 vehicles last month, against 8,603 for September 2005, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
But in the year to date the company was almost level with last year's performance - selling 34,939 vehicles, compared with 35,165 in 2005.
Mark Foster, spokesman for Land Rover, attributed the monthly downturn to the end of the mark 1 Freelander production in July, and people waiting for the latest models of the Range Rover to go on sale.
He said: "We think the year to date guide is the better indicator and there has been very little reduction.
"You have to consider that since July we have stopped building our volume vehicle - the Freelander - and the new Freelander does not go on sale until December.
"The other impact is that people have been waiting for the introduction of the new 07 model year Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
"The new Range Rover only went on sale at the end of September, while the new Range Rover Sport doesn't go on sale until October."
In 2005, bolstered by the Discovery 3, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover, Land Rover notched up 48,777 sales in the UK and 185,000 worldwide, its best ever sales performance.
Mr Foster said he was confident the company would exceed that during 2006.
He said: "We are close to our record year, both globally and in the UK and the figures in October will show a different story to September.
"We have a strong forward order book and we are absolutely confident we will do better than last year."
Land Rover's sister company Jaguar endured another poor month, with its monthly sale falling from 4,754 to 4,385 last month - a drop of 7.76 per cent.
This meant its year to date sales for the company, which
makes the XK, XJ, and S-Type at its Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham, were 11.5 per cent down at 19,087. Aston Martin, which is also part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, was completely unaffected by speculation over its future to almost triple its sales.
The marque - which has a factory at Gaydon in Warwickshire - has been put up for sale by Ford but still increased sales by 190 per cent from 126 to 365 during the month, and 28 per cent in the year to 1,880.
Other marques with Midland connections had mixed fortunes during September.
Mini saw sales down 9.74 per cent to 6,384 vehicles during the month, and 12.66 per cent down to 31.070 in the year to date, caused by lower production volumes while its Oxford factory is expanded.
Peugeot, which is closing its Ryton factory in Coventry last year, seemed to unaffected by the trades unions boycott campaign, with monthly sales 1.32 per cent ahead at 26,503, although they were 0.37 per cent down in the year at 117,168.
Meanwhile Toyota, which makes the Avensis and Corolla at the Burnaston plant near Derby saw sales down 0.45 per cent at 22,587 and 5.66 per cent down in the year at 96,306.
September, which is the second biggest month for new car sales behind March, saw sales dip by 0.7 per cent to 413,991, although the figure was higher than predicted in July.
The overall year to date total was 3.5 per cent on last year 1.902 million cars.
Christopher MacGowan, chief executive of the SMMT, said: "September registrations were some 20,000 units higher than we expected and this has got the 56 plate off to a racing start.
'Traditionally an exciting time for buyers, September private registrations were on a par with last year's. In respect of the overall market to date, although fuel price increases have eased, their volatility, along with concerns over possible interest rate rises, continues to affect customer confidence."