Land Rover broke all records as it ended 2005 with an impressive 30 per cent boost to its sales in the important US car market.
It shifted a total of 46,175 vehicles last year compared with 35,506 in 2004, thanks to the success of the new Range Rover Sport, LR3 Discovery and 2006 specification Range Rover.
The year ended with a 26 per cent sales spurt as just under 7,000 vehicles left the showrooms, figures released by parent group Ford showed last night.
"We have just had not only our best-ever December for sales in the US, but the best month and the best year in the history of the company," said Land Rover spokesman Mark Foster.
"Our managing director, Matthew Taylor, said that 2005 would be a year in which the US would become an increasingly important market for Land Rover and these figures show that we have succeeded in making significant inroads."
Last night's figures were the first of a tranche that will show how well, or how badly, British car companies fared in global markets last year.
Forthcoming data from the UK and Western Europe over the next few days is expected to reflect Land Rover's US success.
The company, whose 8,000 shopfloor workers recently accepted an industry-leading pay offer for 2006-07, also said yesterday that it was retaining 73 short-term contract workers at its Lode Lane site for a month longer than previously expected.
Jaguar, Land Rover's stablemate in Ford's Premier Automotive Group of luxury European brands, confirmed its sales reversal by ending last year 34 per cent down in the US.
It sold a total of 30,424 cars compared with 45,875 in 2004, and was 28 per cent adrift in December at 2,445.
Jaguar, which recently received a £1.2 billion cash injection from Ford, admits it is finding life in the luxury segment of the global car market tough going. But it remains upbeat, insisting that its policy of chasing sales in the higher margin, higher profit, parts of its markets will ultimately pay off.
Jaguar, which now builds four of its five models at its Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham, will be looking to the new XK sports car to put some beef back into over-all sales figures when it arrives in the showroom in the next few weeks.
Another key PAG manufacturer, Volvo, saw its US sales slump by 26 per cent in December and by 11 per cent on the year.
Ford, together with General Motors, its bigger Detroit competitor, has seen foreign rivals take big chunks out of its home market while battling against rising pension and healthcare costs.
Sales of Ford-branded cars rose by two per cent to 1.04 million last year. But total sales, including trucks and truck-based SUVs, were five per cent down at 3.17 million.
A comprehensive restructuring of Ford's North American operations - expected to result in the closure of at least ten plants and the loss of up to 30,000 - will be announced on January 23 along with its annual financial results.