In an update ahead of the the publication of its full-year results, Jaguar Land Rover says the Merseyside-made Evoque and Discovery Sport were leading the company’s recovery. Tony McDonough reports
Jaguar Land Rover says its Merseyside-made Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport were its biggest global sellers in the Land Rover Range in the last 12 months.
In a trading update ahead of the the publication of its financial results for the year to March 31, 2021, JLR says sales of the two models played a key role in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic which saw factories and showrooms shut down for long periods.
During the first UK COVID lockdown in 2020, most of Halewood’s 4,000 workers were sent home as production ground to a halt. The factory reopened in May 2020 and since then the company’s global sales have been on an upward trajectory.
JLR will publish its annual results in May. In the latest trading update on Wednesday it said it had achieved retail sales of 123,483 vehicles in the final three months of its financial year to March 31, 12.4% ahead of the same period last year.
China sales were up 127% compared to a year ago when that market was heavily impacted by the pandemic. Sales in North America were also up year-on-year (+10.4%), while other regions remain lower than pre-COVID levels, including overseas markets (-10.0%), the UK (-6.8%) and Europe (-4.9%).
Land Rover models with increased sales in the quarter include the Land Rover Discovery Sport (+28.6%), Range Rover Sport (+20.7%) and Range Rover (+15.8%). Jaguar models up in the quarter include XF (+28.4%), XE (+5.6%) and F-TYPE (+55.8%).
For the full 2020/21 fiscal year, Jaguar Land Rover global retail sales totalled 439,588 vehicles, down 13.6% on the previous year as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
China was strong, with retail sales reaching 111,206 vehicles, up 23.4% year-on-year. Sales in other regions have not yet recovered to pre-COVID levels with North America down 14.3% and the UK, Europe, and overseas markets each down more than 20%.
JLR continued to roll out electrification technology across its model range. Twelve of the company’s 13 nameplates are now available with an electrified option. In February this year the company, owned by India’s Tata Motors, said Halewood would be included in a £22bn-plus investment to convert all its models to electric by the end of the decade.
At March 31, 2021, the company had around £4.8bn of cash and short-term investments and around £6.7bn of available liquidity, including the £1.9bn undrawn committed credit facility.
Chief executive Thierry Bolloré said: “While the COVID-19 pandemic has an ongoing impact on the global auto industry, I am pleased to end the financial year with sales up year-on-year in the last quarter.
“Encouragingly, the steady recovery throughout the year follows the direction of our Reimagine strategy. The quality of our sales improved even more than the volume, with a focus on our most profitable car lines, higher specifications and lower incentives.
“Despite very different COVID restrictions worldwide we also achieved our objective of balanced sales across our key markets.”