For the year to the end of March the luxury car group, which has its engine manufacturing centre at the i54 to the north of Wolverhampton, saw sales fall 12.1 per cent to 508,659, primarily as a result of the coronavirus pandemic significantly hitting sales in the final quarter of the financial year – it sold 109,869 vehicles between January and March
Annual sales suffered across all regions with North America down 7.5 per cent, China falling 8.9%, the UK declining by 9.6 per cent and Europe 16.1 per cent worse.
With lockdown measures easing, nearly all of the company’s retailers in China have now reopened and sales are recovering.
Despite the impact of coronavirus, sales of the new Range Rover Evoque were up 24.7 per cent year-on-year and sales of the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE increased 40 per cent. The very first sales of the new Land Rover Defender also took place in the fourth quarter.
In light of the ongoing coronavirus situation, JLR has temporarily suspended production at its facilities outside China. In addition, the company is tightly managing all other costs and investments as well as working capital.
JLR will be reporting audited results for the financial year at a later date but ended this financial year with £3.6 billion of cash and short-term investments and an undrawn revolving credit facility of £1.9bn.
The company is rigorously following the guidance of all the relevant authorities in the countries in which it operates and will work towards a phased return to production as soon as conditions permit. This will include implementing robust screening protocols to best practice standards.
JLR's chief commercial officer Felix Brautigam said: "2019-2020 has been a year of unprecedented disruption for the automotive sector. Despite the impact of regulatory change, shifting consumer tastes, Brexit and ongoing trade tensions, sales for Jaguar and Land Rover were showing improvement until the coronavirus pandemic hit in the fourth quarter.
"Through the year, our diverse portfolio of Jaguar sports cars,sports utility vehicles, sedans and crossover vehicles continued to excite customers across the globe. Most recently, we launched our new, more assertive, Jaguar F-TYPE to very positive customer and media response. With the increasing demand for alternative powertrains, we were pleased to see sustained growth in sales of the multiple award-winning Jaguar I-PACE, the world’s first all-electric performance SUV from an established brand.
"We were also encouraged by the ongoing strength of our existing vehicles and the positive reception for our latest models. Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, for example, retain their appeal thanks to regular updates such as plug-in hybrid technology. Demand has been particularly strong for the new Range Rover Evoque with sales up nearly 25 per cent year-on-year. And we will soon offer highly competitive plug-in hybrid versions of both the Evoque and the Land Rover Discovery Sport. 2019 saw us unveil the all-new Land Rover Defender, the world’s most iconic 4x4, reimagined for the 21st Century. There has been unprecedented interest in our most capable Land Rover ever."
JLR is doing whatever it can to support its communities through the current situation. To date, this has included the deployment of more than 300 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles around the world to organisations such as the Red Cross and other emergency services.
The company has offered its research, engineering and manufacturing expertise to support the development of medical and personal protective equipment. It has recently started production and delivery of NHS-approved protective visors for frontline medical staff to answer the Government call for more vital equipment to fight coronavirus.
The company is also encouraging its employees to get involved with national and local community efforts to support the vulnerable and in need, including the call for volunteer responders in the UK and all round the world.