Chinese demand is driving force behind Jaguar Land Rover surge
Booming demand from China helped drive a record £1.5 billion profit at resurgent luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).
The Midlands-based manufacturer, owned by Indian company Tata Motors, yesterday reported a 35 per cent rise in its surplus for the year to 31 March, boosted by strong demand for its Range Rover Evoque.
Sales in China showed strong growth and now account for nearly one-in-five of the cars sold by the business.
The impressive performance underlines the resurgent fortunes of the UK’s car manufacturing industry, which is now exporting more in value terms than it imports for the first time since the 1970s.
The number of cars JLR sold over the course of the year hit a record 314,433, up 29 per cent on the previous year, while revenues rose 37 per cent to £13.5bn.
The UK remained its biggest market for retail sales, up 3.2 per cent to 60,000.
But its two second-biggest markets closed the gap, with China – where the booming middle classes continue to show a strong appetite for western luxury goods – up 76 per cent, and North America reporting 15 per cent growth. JLR enjoyed a strong final quarter of its financial year, with the number of cars it sold up 48 per cent to 98,000. Of these, 19 per cent went to China, compared to 13 per cent in the same period the previous year.
The company, which has yet to receive regulatory approval for a new joint venture in China, has seen a dramatic turnaround in fortunes in recent years since the car market collapsed in the recession and it slumped to a loss.
Boosted by strong growth in emerging markets and the popularity of recent models, such as a version of the Jaguar XF with a 2.2 litre diesel engine, it has announced plans to increase production in the UK.
It is expected to create 1,000 roles at its Halewood plant as it ramps up production of the Range Rover Evoque, including a new version that singer Victoria Beckham helped design.
The firm has sold more than 60,000 Evoques worldwide since its launch in September.
The workforce in Merseyside will rise to almost 4,500 – treble the number employed there three years ago. JLR is also creating 1,000 jobs at its factory in Solihull near Birmingham as part of plans to launch 40 products over the next four years and it is building a £355 million engine plant in Wolverhampton.
The strong results at JLR boosted Tata Motors’ overall performance. The group grew its revenues by 36 per cent to 1.7 trillion rupees (£18.9bn).
• Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar has been suspended by Malaysian owner Proton after a complaint about his conduct.
The car maker did not elaborate on the reasons but the move has fuelled speculation over the future of Lotus, which was bought by Proton in 1996.
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