In December the decline accelerated to 6.4 per cent with 52,160 cars sold worldwide.
Jaguar was up 1.2 per cent for the year (180,833)and 7.2 per cent last month (16,165), while Land Rover sales slipped 6.9 per cent on the year (411,875) and 11.4 per cent in December (35,995)
2017 had been a record year for JLR and the introduction of the Jaguar E-Pace and I-Pace led to Jaguar’s best ever annual sales results in 2018.
Market weakness in China hit sales of established models with a 21.6 per cent fall.
Issues relating to diesel and Brexit weighed on annual sales in the UK which were down 1.5 per cent and Europe – a fall of 7.8 per cent.
In China sales were down 42.4 per cent in December as slowing economic growth and trade tensions with the United States continue to hit car sales across the industry, which were lower for the sixth consecutive month.
Felix Brautigam, JLR chief commercial officer, said: “We have seen a strong end to the year in North America, Europe and the UK. Sales were up despite challenging market conditions, including regulatory changes and diesel uncertainty, which have impacted sales performance throughout the year. The UK’s performance in particular has been encouraging in a market segment which is down.
“The economic slowdown in China along with ongoing trade tensions is continuing to influence consumer confidence. The impact is being felt across several industries globally. Despite this we continue to work closely with retailers and are taking the necessary actions to balance production with demand in order to rejuvenate sales as part of our turnaround plan for the business.
“Encouragingly sales of Jaguar models reached 180,833, and marked a record year for the Jaguar brand. This sustained interest against difficult market conditions shows the attractiveness of our varied model portfolio from sports cars to sporty premium sedans and sporty SUVs. The new I-Pace, the first premium-luxury electric vehicle from an established manufacturer was launched to very positive critical acclaim, winning awards around the globe and confirming the innovative and sporty spirit of Jaguar.
Sales of Land Rover models fell by 6.9 per cent as market conditions in China and Europe and the run-out of the current Evoque held back performance. Strong sales of the new Range Rover Velar, World Car Design 2018, and the refreshed Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with plug-in hybrid technology partially compensated for that, leading to a Land Rover record year in North America or the overseas region. With the launch of the all-new compact yet sophisticated Range Rover Evoque in 2019 we expect to see a boost in demand.
"Customers are able to choose from state-of-the-art petrol and diesel engines with mild and soon plug-in hybrid options, demonstrating our commitment to driving a cleaner and more sustainable future, without losing any of Land Rover’s legendary capability.”