Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover says the ongoing global shortage of computer chips was continuing to impact on sales but says customer demand is at record levels. Tony McDonough reports
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) says its supply of semiconductor chips amid the global shortage is improving but is still hitting sales – but the company adds demand is at record levels.
Since the global computer chip shortage first became apparent last year production at JLR, as well as other automakers, has faced significant disruption. Modern cars are heavily dependent on digital technology.
As recently as October last year the company had to shut down production for a week at its factory in Halewood in Merseyside where it employs around 3,700 people assembling the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque models.
Retail sales for the quarter ending December 31, 2021, were 80,126 vehicles, down 13.6% from the preceding quarter ending September 30, 2021, and 37.6% lower than the same quarter a year ago.
It added retail sales were lower across all regions compared to the preceding quarter, including China (-6.9%), Europe (-6.8%), North America (-11.8%), UK (-24.3%), and overseas (-25.4%).
However, wholesale volumes were 69,182 units and production volumes were 72,184 units in the period (both excluding China JV), up 8% and 41% respectively compared to the preceding quarter ending September 30, 2021.
The increase in production in particular reflects a start in improved chip supply. Compared to the preceding quarter, Range Rover wholesale volumes were up by 91.8%, Range Rover Sport by 64.0% and I-Pace by 34.5%. Retail sales for the calendar year 2021 were 420,856, down 1.2% compared to the calendar year 2020 with Land Rover sales up 3.4%.
Despite the impact of the semiconductor shortage on production and sales, the company continues to see strong demand for its products with global retail orders at record levels.
The total order book has grown to over 154,000 units, up about 30,000 orders from the prior quarter for the New Range Rover, while demand for the Land Rover Defender remains strong with about 36,000 orders.
Lennard Hoornik, JLR chief commercial officer, said: “Semi-conductor supply challenges continue within the industry but our wholesale volumes are improving. We look forward to completing delivery to global customers as supply improves in 2022.”
At the end of January, JLR expects to report unaudited results for the three months ending December 31, 2021. Initial estimated cashflow for the quarter is around £150m positive. It said it expects the supply of chips to continue improving in the next few weeks.