Jaguar sales in Britain and Europe during May were boosted by wider availability of new diesel models and the X-type estate (wagon) to a 31% improvement over May 2003.

European sales of 5,305 cars in the month were over 1,000 units ahead of the same period in 2003, helping global sales for the first five months to 51,680 units and a 13.6% increase over last year.

In Britain, sales for the month totalled 2,692 cars, a 21% improvement over last year.

The revised S-type, with new 2.7-litre diesel V6 posted a 57.6% rise in sales of this model.

The smaller X-type, which has never met the ambitious targets set at its 2001 launch, has nonetheless recorded a 19.2% share of the UK's premium C/D segment so far this year, a 36% rise over the same period of 2003.

"The rapid growth in sales of Jaguar's new diesel models underlines the increasing strength and popularity of our range," said Jaguar managing director Mike Wright.