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Difficult trading in the UK and Europe dragged down Jaguar Land Rover as sales fell in February

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published:

Jaguar Land Rover saw its sales slip last month, dragged down by falls in the UK and Europe.

Despite strong demand for the new Range Rover Velar, Jaguar Land Rover saw sales fall in February

It was still the West Midlands-based luxury carmaker's second best February in its history, as the new Range Rover Velar and Land Rover Discovery helped boost sales.

But solid demand in China – up 3.3 per cent – and in markets such as the Middle East and Russia failed to generate enough growth to counter the falls elsewhere.

Overall sales for Jaguar Land Rover were down 2.6 per cent in February to 39,911. With the launch of its new E-Pace still ramping up, Jaguar was down by 5.2 per cent to 11,565.

The F-Pace sports utility vehicle remains its biggest seller, followed up the big XF saloon which enjoyed a 15 per cent hike in demand. That was partly due to the popularity of the long-wheelbase XFL version produced especially for China - JLR's single biggest regional market.

Land Rover slipped 1.5% despite the popularity of the Velar, Discovery and the new Range Rover and Rover Sport – including the first ever hybrid model.

The company blamed difficult trading conditions in its key European markets, especially the UK where sales were down 15.2 per cent last month. In Europe sales fell 6.9 per cent.

Andy Goss, JLR's group sales director, said: "While February is a short month and we are continuing to see weaker market conditions in Europe and the UK in particular largely reflecting diesel uncertainty, we saw strong sales of the new Discovery and Velar models in the month.

"Sales of the new 18 model year Range Rover and Range Rover Sport and Jaguar E-Pace are still ramping up heading into March which is normally our biggest sales month largely as a result of the registration plate changeover in the UK.

"This year will be an exciting year for Jaguar Land Rover with the launch of Jaguar I-Pace, our first electric car which was revealed last week and will be shown at the Geneva Auto Show opening this week."

The I-Pace, with its 298-mile range, is on sale in the UK from £63,495 but in the key US market it has been priced $10,000 less than the rival Tesla, at $69,500. That works out at around £50,000 – £14,000 less than its UK price. That price advantage could prove even more helpful if President Donald Trump goes ahead with his threat to slap an extra tax on cars imported into the USA from Europe, as part of a burgeoning trade war following his move to hike tariffs on European steel and aluminium.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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