NEW DELHI, August 2011 (AFP) – India’s Tata Motors said Wednesday it will unveil its new Jaguar C-X16 sports concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month as it looks to its British luxury vehicle unit to help drive profits.

More than 80 percent or $1.7 billion of Tata Motors’ $2.04 billion annual profit for the year to March 2011 came from its Jaguar Land Rover unit bought three years ago from Ford..

Tata Motors, India’s leading vehicle company, called the new Jaguar C-X16 production concept “a precursor to future Jaguar sports cars” that will aim to set new benchmarks in design, vehicle dynamics and technology.

The sports coupe was designed by the same team headed by design director Ian Callum, who developed the Jaguar XJ luxury flagship sedan and others vehicles in its lineup.

Callum said in the statement that the new vehicle would look “firmly to the future.”

A concept vehicle is often made by manufacturers to gauge customer reaction to a new design.

In May, Jaguar announced it would build the C-X75 hybrid electric supercar it displayed at last year’s Paris auto show that will sell for up to $1.5 million.

Land Rover’s upmarket sports utility vehicles have been the more successful of the two upmarket British offerings since Tata Motors acquired the division.

But Tata is seeking to reinvigorate the appeal of Jaguar, whose allure was dented by some models in recent decades that were regarded by auto critics as lacklustre.

Tata Motors has invested $3 billion in Jaguar Land Rover to bring it out of losses, analysts say.

Tata also makes the world’s cheapest car, the $2,500 Nano, whose sales have been hit by sluggish demand in India as surging interest rates and fuel prices have kept customers out of automobile showrooms. ■