Jaguar Land Rover eyes record sales year

Jaguar Land Rover was today aiming to break records by getting its annual sales figures up to 300,000 cars within the next few years.

Jaguar Land Rover was today aiming to break records by getting its annual sales figures up to 300,000 cars within the next few years.

It would take the West Midlands luxury car maker far above the previous record set in 2007 — its best-ever year when it sold around 230,000 cars — 181,000 Land Rovers and 52,000 Jaguars.

Since then it has been hit by the credit crunch but has been among the leading companies coming out of recession, with strong figures for its cars made at Solihill and Castle Bromwich in West Midlands.

It has also launched its "baby" Range Rover, the Evoque, to be built at Halewood which is expected to be a major boost to group sales.

But Jaguar Land Rover, owned by Indian conglomerate Tata since 2008, has dismissed reports that it was aiming for 650,000 sales a year by 2014, which would have made it the biggest carmaker in the UK.

JLR spokesman Jonathan Griffiths said today: "Our target at the moment is to get to 300,000 a year.

"But our best-ever year was 2007, when we sold 230,000 vehicles, so you can see we have a way to go yet."

It is the first confirmation of the kind of sales figures JLR's ambitious bosses are aiming at.

The company is currently riding high on a string of successful launches, with the newly updated Range Rover and two-wheel drive Freelander building on the popularity of the Jaguar XF and XJ and the Discovery 4.

The Evoque, part-designed by Victoria Beckham, is due to arrive in showrooms this summer and is already picking up awards.

It is also creating 1,500 new jobs at Halewood and providing £2 billion of work to UK component manufacturers including Walsall Pressings, Sertec in Birmingham and Coventry firm Kautex Unipart.

Jaguar Land Rover already employs nearly 14,000 at its five West Midland plants in Solihull, Castle Bromwich, Gaydon, Whitley and Coventry and further sales are likely to mean more jobs, both at JLR and at its supplier companies.

It is also aiming to expand its sales in Asia, building on growing numbers in China — where sales almost doubled to 26,000 last year — and India.

To that end JLR boss Carl-Peter Forster has announced plans for a new factory in India, to assemble Freelander 2 cars manufactured and packaged in Halewood.

This will not only give it a foothold in the Indian car market but allow it to avoid heavy import taxes on its vehicles, making them more affordable to Indian buyers.

Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month, Mr Forster said the company also wanted to start up a factory in China, but was still looking for a partner to work with.