Jaguar and Land Rover said yesterday they were making up lost sales in the slumping US market in other parts of the world.
The two West Midland manufacturers, which are in the process of being sold to Indian industrial conglomerate Tata, shared the sales woes of their current owner, Ford, in February.
Ford sales fell by 10 per cent overall last month as demand for its market-leading F-Series pick-ups and SUVs like the Explorer and Expedition.
Land Rover, which has been celebrating three boom years, suffered a rare reverse, with a 9.2 per cent dip in sales to 2,819 units in February. Sales for the first two months of the year were 13.2 per cent down at 5,678.
Jaguar, which is expected to start making up lost sales ground now that the highly acclaimed new XF mid-range saloon is in the salesrooms, was 10.7 per cent down at 1,063 last month and 33.1 per down at 1,727 for the year so far.
Jaguar, which has been especially hard hit by the prolonged strength of the pound in comparison to the dollar, said its lower February US figures were due mainly to the overall decline in US cars sales but had been exacerbated by the run-out of the S-Type, predecessor to the XF, and the decision to pull the entry-level X-Type from the US market.
"We have had close to 15,000 advance orders for the XF, about 4,000 of them in the US," Jaguar spokesman Don Hume told The Birmingham Post last night. "The dealers are clamouring for them."
But China and Russia are now coming up strongly as major markets, both for Jaguar and Land Rover.
"In China we expect to see Jaguar sales rising by 80 per cent this year and in Russia by 90 per cent," Mr Hume said. "Sales growth in the Middle East is expected to be about 36 or 37 per cent."
The X-Type, which Jaguar builds at Halewood on Merseyside and which represents the company's attempt to move into the higher volume segment of the luxury car market, is leading sales in many markets outside the UK and the US.
"We expect to see significant growth in sales this year on a global basis, which will clearly be driven by the XF which will pull along the rest of the company."
The Castle Bromwich plant is currently "working flat out" to meet demand for XF but customers face a wait of more than three months before taking delivery.
"We are trying to control the situation to minimise delays in delivery," Mr Hume added.
Land Rover spokesman Mark Foster said that 2008 will see Russia emerge as the Solihull 4x4 specialist's third most important market after the UK and the US.
Ford yesterday damped down expectations that an announcement that the deal with Tata would be final-ised this week.
The two companies are still locked in highly detailed negotiations regard-ing supply contracts and other legal issues, but Tata said it saw "no roadblocks" in the way of a deal, which is expected to be in the region of £1 billion.
Speaking in Geneva yesterday, Jaguar managing director Mike O'Driscoll called the negotiations "focused" but would not say more about their progress.
"We're delighted with the negotiations and with the prospects ahead," he said.
"I think Tata Motors is interested in Jaguar and Land Rover because they are two great brands. Look at the heritage, at the customers we have, the spirit of the brands."