China and US boost Jaguar Land Rover revenue to record £25.8 billion, despite UK downturn
Demand from China and the US have helped Jaguar Land Rover accelerate to record sales figures, despite a downturn in the UK and Europe, the company revealed today.
As it sold 614,309 Jaguars, Range Rovers and Land Rovers around the world in the 12 months to the end of March, it rang up revenue figures of £25.8 billion, up six per cent on the previous year.
Pre-tax profits of £1.5 billion were down, by around £100m, and that was after a one-off pension credit of £437m.
The profit margin on its earnings was down to 3.8 per cent, from 5.9 per cent a year ago, due to slower sales growth and the 'significant' investment in the business
But chief executive Ralf Speth was bullish, saying: “Despite external headwinds, these results reflect the underlying strengths of Jaguar Land Rover. Sales have reached a new high. Strong demand in our key overseas markets has offset the challenging conditions in the UK and other parts of Europe.
"As we mark the first 10 years of Tata ownership, our focus is on shaping our future and we will continue with over-proportional investment in new vehicles, manufacturing facilities and next-generation automotive technologies in line with our Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared strategy.”
The West Midlands-based luxury carmaker was bought by the Indian-owned Tata group a decade ago and since then has been transformed by major investment, including its £1 billion engine factory on Wolverhampton's i54 site where 1,800 people now work.
The company said the last year had seen strong demand for its new Discovery, Range Rover Velar and Jaguar F-Pace cars,, as well as the long-wheelbase Jaguar XFL made for the Chinese market, while it spent around £4.2 billion on new technology, production and research & development facilities.
Over the 12-month period, retail sales grew 1.7 per cent overall, with demand up almost 20 per cent in China and further growth in North America and in its so-called Overseas Markets, including the Pacific area, Middle East, South America, India and Russia.
Those sales rises helped offset lower figures in the UK, down 12.8 per cent, and in Europe, where sales fell 5.3 per cent. JLR blamed the sales drop on "consumer uncertainty surrounding diesel models, Brexit and vehicle taxation".
The company has also introduced two brand new cars during the year, the first fully electric Jaguar, the I-Pace, and the E-Pace compact SUV. It also launched its first plug in hybrid models of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
Alongside investment in its UK factories, JLR opened a new engine plant in China and is building a car factory in Slovakia, due to start production later this year. It is also pumping £450m into its Gaydon Design and Engineerng Centre and opening a software engineering centre in Ireland.
Jaguar Land Rover said it plans to invest another £4.5bn this year.
Ralf Speth added: “Looking ahead, we will maintain our investment in products and technologies to provide our customers with the next generation of Jaguars and Land Rovers. We are confident in our plans to deliver robust growth and we are driving efficiencies to ensure that growth is sustainable and profitable. We are one team with pioneering spirit, delivering outstanding new cars, with the best of British design and engineering integrity, leading in customer desirability.”