Jaguar Land Rover ended a tough year for sales with a rise in December with surges in retail sales for the Halewood-assembled Evoque and Discovery Sport models. Tony McDonough reports
Rising sales of the Merseyside-produced Evoque are driving a recovery at carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), new figures reveal.
JLR, which employs more than 4,000 people assembling the Evoque and Discovery Sport models at its Halewood factory, said it had sold 52,814 vehicles in December 2019, 1.3% up on the previous year.
The retail figures were boosted by a 33.2% surge in sales of the Evoque with the Discovery Sport also seeing an impressive rise in sales of 19.6%. However, despite the overall positive figure for the month, retails sales in all of the company’s market actually fell, with the exception of China.
Sales in China were up 26.3% year-on-year, a sixth successive month of double-digit growth. This offset lower sales in North America (-1.1%), UK (-2.9%), Europe (-5.3%) and in overseas markets (-7.6%).
For the quarter to December 2019, JLR retail sales were 141,222, down 2.3% year-on-year, reflecting similar market and model trends. Sales were up in China (24.3%) and North America (1.1%), but were offset by lower sales in the UK (-11.9%), Europe (-10.1%) and overseas markets (-11.5%).
Sales were up for the Evoque (30%) and the refreshed Land Rover Discovery Sport (9.2%) as well as the Land Rover Discovery (4.3%) and the Range Rover Sport (2.5%), while sales of other models were down.
For the calendar year 2019, Jaguar Land Rover retail sales were 557,706, down 5.9% compared to 2018. This reflects the currently more challenging industry conditions across markets with sales down in China (-13.5%), overseas regions (-14.2%), Europe (-4.9%) and the UK (-1.7%).
However, the double-digit sales growth in China over the last six months has been encouraging, as has been the record sales achieved in North America (up 1.8%). The Evoque sales surge is reward for JLR which invested £110m upgrading Halewood for the latest model.
JLR chief commercial officer, Felix Brautigam, said: “2019 was a year of two halves for Jaguar Land Rover. Over the last six months we saw a marked improvement in China, where intensive work with our retailers, combined with significant process and product improvements are starting to gain traction.
“Elsewhere, adverse market conditions continued to affect the industry, but encouragingly in North America we closed 2019 successfully with a new record year.”