FRANKFURT (Reuters) - British car maker Jaguar [TAMOJL.UL], known for its sporty sedans, will launch the F-PACE offroader in 2016, entering the ultra popular segment of the luxury sports utility vehicle in a radical departure for the 80-year-old brand.
Luxury SUVs have long been built by parent company Jaguar Land Rover, which already owns the Range Rover brand, in what has become a popular segment among women and family buyers.
"The F-PACE is our family sports car," Ian Callum, Jaguar's director of design said.
The company is also launching two diesel powered Range Rover models in North America in 2016 with new engines promising fuel savings of up to 30 percent when compared with gasoline engine powered models.
Sunday's announcements, made during the Detroit auto show, mark further expansion by the British automaker, which has gone from being loss-making to a major profit-maker since it was bought by India's Tata Motors TAMOJL.UL (TAMO.NS) in 2008.
The move comes as Jaguar Land Rover continues a broad expansion plan, which includes widening its model range, boosting volumes and expanding production away from Britain.
The fast-growing luxury car segment has traditionally been dominated by German brands Audi (NSUG.DE), BMW (BMWG.DE) and Daimler's (DAIGn.DE) Mercedes-Benz, but JLR is among those seeking to take a bigger slice of the lucrative market.
The firm, which saw global sales rise by 9 percent in 2014 to over 460,000 vehicles, launched its cheapest car ever in Britain, the five-door model XE sports sedan last autumn as part of plans to attract younger and female customers.
"With...the introduction of the new Jaguar XE and the Land Rover Discovery Sport, we anticipate retailing over half a million vehicles for the first time in the company's history," Group Sales Operations Director Andy Goss said.
The firm said its 2014 global sales grew across all regions increased with the biggest rise recorded in the China region where volumes rose by 28 percent to just over 122,000 units.
Jaguar Land Rover did not disclose pricing for the new SUV.
Reporting by Costas Pitas and Edward Taylor; Editing by Alan Crosby