Luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has enjoyed its best ever sales performance following strong overseas demand for models such as the Jaguar F-Type and Range Rover Sport.
The firm, owned by India’s Tata Motors, sold 425,006 vehicles last year, an increase of 19 per cent on 2012, boosted by record sales in Brazil, Canada, South Korea and Russia.
Global sales for the Jaguar marque soared 42 per cent to 76,668 vehicles, which JLR chief executive Ralf Speth said was driven by the new F-Type.
Record demand for the Range Rover Evoque and a strong showing for the Sport model pushed Land Rover sales up 15 per cent to a record 348,338.
Exports to China and the Asia Pacific area powered ahead by 30 per cent, followed by a 21 per cent jump in North America, while UK sales grew 14 per cent.
Speth said: “Our unrelenting focus on design, technology, innovation and quality has seen JLR reach global consumers in more markets than ever before thanks to its most desirable product line-up, enriched further in 2013 by the Jaguar F-Type and all-new Range Rover Sport.”
Prime Minister David Cameron took to Twitter to hail the figures as “great news for Britain and for jobs”. Tony Burke, assistant general secretary of the Unite trade union, described JLR as a “remarkable manufacturing success story”.
Burke added: “The manufacturer’s fantastic performance is testament to the workforce. Unite union representatives are working with employers such as JLR for quality skilled jobs in UK manufacturing.”
JLR recently launched the first phase of a recruitment drive as it invests more than £500 million in an engine plant at its site near Wolverhampton in the West Midlands. The firm is aiming to take on about 600 workers over the next four years, under a long-term plan to eventually recruit 1,400 people.
The firm is also urging more women to consider a career in engineering as it seeks up to 150 apprentices this year.
Last week the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders predicted that, by 2017, the number of cars built in Britain will exceed the peak of 1.72 million vehicles reached in 1972. Production figures for 2013 are due later this month, and are expected to exceed 1.5 million for the first time in six years.