With its vehicle sales rebounding and three re-engineered models to promote, Land Rover North America, Inc. has launched a new sponsorship campaign to build visibility, demonstrate vehicle capabilities and spur sales.

The iconic SUV maker recently announced a new one-year partnership with the U.S. Equestrian Federation, a tie that augments its other corporately funded major deal—a seasonally focused tie with ski resort developer Intrawest Corp.—with a year-round marketing platform.

The unit of Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC, itself a subsidiary of Mumbai-based Tata Motors Ltd.—which purchased the Land Rover and Jaguar brands from Ford Motor Co. in ’08—plans to sign additional deals with adventure travel and humanitarian-related nonprofits, said Finbar McFall, Land Rover North America’s vice president of marketing.

“In the future I can see three or four key relationships that build over time. I don’t want to spread ourselves too thin. We need to make sure our relationships are authentic and have some real depth because we want to build on them year after year.”

Land Rover is using sponsorship to promote its Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and LR4, all of which were re-engineered for the ’10 model year. The company’s fourth vehicle—the entry-level, $36,000-base-price LR2—was not redesigned.

Like other automakers, Land Rover is increasing its marketing spend as sales begin to rebound. Land Rover sold 2,726 vehicles in March, up 21 percent over March ’09 and the brand's sixth consecutive month of sales growth.

The company is aligning with properties that reach affluent, 40-something consumers who enjoy the outdoors and drive autos for specific purposes, McFall said. “For our customers, the car isn’t just a symbol of success—they need the capabilities that Land Rover offers.”

Ride-and-drive events play a prominent activation role.

“Experience marketing plays a core role in giving Land Rover a point of differentiation,” McFall said. “To truly experience our products, you need to drive them. It’s not good enough just to be exposed to an advertisement.”

Land Rover will leverage its status as official vehicle of USEF by offering ride-and-drive programs and one-on-one driving instructions on an off-road course at this week’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone. Land Rover also receives TV ads and opening and closing billboards as presenting sponsor of the event’s telecast on NBC.

“There will be no escaping the fact that we are the official automobile sponsor; sponsorship gives us a lot of levers to pull,” McFall said.

Land Rover also will title the USEF’s U.S. Eventing team, which will compete in this fall’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, among other events. The World Equestrian Games will be held in Lexington, Ky.

Like its role with the USEF, Land Rover uses its partnership with Intrawest to gain ride-and-drive opportunities and build visibility. Its deal gives Land Rover presence at Stratton Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont and the Steamboat Springs and Winter Park resorts in Colorado.

“The sponsorship lets us build up test drives and handraisers to increase awareness for our brand,” McFall said. “We do that in front of fantastic backdrops.”

Land Rover also sponsors The Competitor Group’s Columbia Muddy Buddy Ride & Run Series of 18 cycling and running events on behalf of its Certified Pre-owned division, said McFall, noting that the long-running partnership sets a good example for future relationships.

“Regional activation is the reason why it works. Retailers get involved, and it’s a good model for us to follow.”

Nicole Logue, events manager, screens proposals for Mahwah, N.J.-based Land Rover North America.

Other sponsorships for the Land Rover brand are driven by local dealers. Ties include The Hampton Classic horse show in Bridgehampton, N.Y. and the PGA Tour’s Champions Tour Toshiba Classic in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Dealers frequently sponsor on behalf of both Land Rover and Jaguar.