JAGUAR LAUNCHES NEW SPORTS COUPE;O&M CAMPAIGN TO ADDRESS 14% DROP IN SALES DURING EARLY 1996

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Jaguar Cars North America launches its new XK8 coupe Oct. 3 with a 30-second TV spot and an 8-page insert in The Wall Street Journal. The campaign's theme is "A new breed of Jaguar."

The coupe, Jaguar's first since the marketer was purchased by Ford Motor Co. in 1989, has been likened to Jaguar's classic XKE, the defunct E-type. Jaguar hopes the new model will beef up its sales volume. Last year, it sold 18,085 cars in the U.S. But sales slid by 14% during the first eight months of 1996, to 10,592.

ADS FOR XJ6 TO FOLLOW

The new 1997 coupe will be the focus of the luxury British carmaker's fourth-quarter advertising. But new ads for the XJ6 sedan will follow, mostly in newspapers, with radio under consideration.

"We can't afford not to keep a steady presence for our sedans, since they represent the largest part of our volume," said Tom Spencer, Jaguar advertising and marketing manager.

Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, created at least five print ads, which break in news-weeklies and November consumer magazines. The slick, car-on-road magazine ads tout the XK8's performance via its 32-valve, V-8 engine. Several refer to Jaguar's heritage; one headline begins, "Its soul was inherited."

Jaguar's ad budget won't be "sur-prisingly more" than last year's $22 million, Mr. Spencer said.

Jaguar started research on launch plans a few years ago, Mr. Spencer said. It first asked luxury sports car owners and luxury performance car owners what their ideal imagery was for a luxury sports car. Then, the automaker studied its own 12-cylinder XJS model, which the XK8 replaces.

`TOUCH OF PERFORMANCE'

"The XJS had a lot of real image strength-very prestigious and very elegant," Mr. Spencer said. But its replacement needed to convey more excitement, so "with the XK8, we needed to add a touch of technology and performance," he said.

Jaguar expects to sell 12,000 coupes worldwide, about 7,000 of those in the U.S.

The average age of a Jaguar owner is about 53, and Jaguar isn't looking for the coupe to change its demographics. But Mr. Spencer said the XK8 may attract younger people.

About 100,000 current Jaguar owners and owners of competitive models like the Mercedes SLK and BMW 8-Series will start receiving direct-mail pieces this week for the XK8. Some recipients will get a video, done by O&M.

O&M also produced a direct-mail video for the XJ6 sedan, which focuses on Jaguar's strides in quality. For example: Jaguar sedan repairs dropped by 70% since 1989 and warranty costs by 50% since 1990.

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