Land Rover Defender helps buoy JLR 53.3% in second quarter

Surge in sales of the new Defender and strong sales in China bolster recovery for Jaguar Land Rover.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has reported a sales spike of 53.3 per cent in the three months leading up to September, as dealerships and factories largely reopened following a pandemic-induced shutdown in the first quarter of 2020.

The company sold 113,569 vehicles globally from 1 July to 30 September – 27,347 from Jaguar and 86,22 from Land Rover – compared with 74,067 overall in the previous three months. The latest figures represent a marked improvement but remain down 11.9 per cent year on year.

JLR’s global production centres are now largely operating at normal capacity, with its factories in Solihull, Halewood and Nitra (Slovakia) increased to a two-shift pattern to meet increasing demand.

JLR highlights strong sales in China as a driving factor in the recovery, with a quarterly spike of 14.6 per cent in that country alone – one of the manufacturer’s biggest markets – and a yearly boost of 3.7 per cent.

In September, the brand reported a 28.5 per cent year-on-year sales increase in China.

Sales in the UK surged by 231.6 per cent, while the European, North American and Overseas markets increased by 78.8 per cent, 21.3 per cent and 35.1 per cent respectively. JLR notes that each of these markets, however, is still down year-on-year as a result of the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

The news comes ahead of the publication of JLR’s quarterly financial results later this month. As an early indication of its financial state, JLR said: “The company ended September with “about £3 billion (AUD$5.44bn) of cash and short-term deposits, up $0.3bn, primarily reflecting positive free cash flow as expected in the quarter. Total liquidity was about $9.06bn, including the company’s $3.44bn revolving credit facility, which remains undrawn.”

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Strong model performers include the new Land Rover Defender, which achieved 4508 sales in September, and the electric Jaguar I-Pace, which recorded a 78 per cent year-on-year sales boost in the UK last quarter.

Key models including the Range Rover Velar, Jaguar F-Pace, Jaguar XE and Jaguar XF are each shortly to go on sale in updated form for 2021.

Jaguar has also drastically reduced prices and reduced customisation options for its two saloon models in a bid to increase sales. A new buying process – referred to as ‘browse, buy, drive away’ – has been devised as a means of making pricing more transparent, but it won’t be rolled out to other models, because the XE and XF are targeted more specifically at the retail sector.

JLR’s chief commercial officer, Felix Bräutigam, was optimistic about the recovery continuing, saying: “Covid-19 and second lockdowns continue to impact the global auto industry, but we’re pleased to see sales recovering across our markets.

“In China, the first region to come out of lockdown, our performance has been particularly encouraging. But we’re also seeing strong improvement versus the preceding quarter in other key markets, with sales up more than 50% worldwide.

“The recovery has been demand-led, and we’re delighted that we have been able to reduce stocks to achieve ideal levels in most markets, despite the ongoing pandemic, to support a healthier and more profitable business for Jaguar Land Rover and its retailers.”

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