Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover continues to be constrained by the global semiconductor shortage but says underlying demand for its vehicles ‘remains strong’. Tony McDonough reports
Underlying demand for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) vehicles “remains strong” despite continued problems caused by the global shortage of semiconductor chips.
In the last few days the Society of Motor Manufacturers has revealed that last month was the worst March for UK car sales in 24 years. Just 243,479 new cars were registered last month, down 14.3% on March 31, 2021.
Publishing its latest sales figures for the three months to March 31, JLR said production and sales continued to be constrained by the semiconductor shortage but added it had seen a “gradual improvement” in chip supply leading to improved production and wholesale volumes compared to the previous quarter.
In the past 12 months the chip shortage has hit production at JLR’s factory at Halewood in Merseyside where around 3,700 people assemble the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque models. The company says it expects the situation to continue improving over the next few months.
It reported wholesale volumes for the quarter were 76,526 units and production volumes were 82,722 units in the period (both excluding its China joint venture), up 11% and 15% respectively compared to the previous quarter ending December 31.
Compared to the previous quarter, wholesale volumes were up by 23% for Defender, 14% for Range Rover Sport and 29% for Discovery. The quarter was also noteworthy for the first deliveries of the New Range Rover, with 1,910 wholesales with the prior model now running out.
Retail sales for the quarter ending 31 March 2022 were 79,008 vehicles, down 1% (1,118 units) from the previous quarter ending December 31 and 36% (44,475 units) from the quarter a year ago ending March 31, 2021.
Retails were higher compared to the previous quarter in the UK (+34%), North America (+5%) and Overseas (+10%) but were lower in China (-18%) and Europe (-17%).
Wholesales (excluding the China joint venture) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, were 294,182, down 15% compared to the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. Retail sales for the fiscal year were 376,381, down 14% compared to the previous 12 months.
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 again setting new records in the quarter.
As of March 31, 2022, the total order book has grown to more than 168,000 units, up around 14,000 orders from December 31. Lennard Hoornik, Jaguar Land Rover chief commercial officer, said: “The conflict in Ukraine has not materially impacted our wholesale volumes in the quarter.
“The impact on production has also been limited due to active management of the parts supply chain, including developing alternatives for the relatively small number of parts that are sourced from the affected countries. However, it is difficult to predict how supply and inflationary pressures will impact the coming quarters.
“Our first priority remains the welfare of our employees, and the company has been providing humanitarian support for the families of colleagues impacted by the conflict and through the supply of vehicles to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.”