JLR sees China sales slump as coronavirus grips country

Jaguar I-PACE

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) says its sales in China fell dramatically by 85% in February as the coronavirus outbreak gripped the country.

Tata, owner of the firm which employs more than 4,000 staff at its Halewood plant on Merseyside, said just a fifth of dealers were open at the beginning of the month – a figure which has since improved to more than 80%.

The firm said it expect Chinese sales to recover “gradually”, but that other overseas markets are set to suffer as the virus spreads throughout the world.

Tata Motors said: “Tata Motors Group is continuously monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation closely and responding appropriately in accordance with relevant government requirements and advice in China and other jurisdictions it operates.

“Our first priority has been the health and safety of our employees.

“Shanghai-based JLR China & Chery Jaguar Land Rover staff have been working from home since the end of the lunar holiday and the offices and JV plant reopened in the week of the 24 February.

“Production will be ramped up as the number of employees returning to work and demand increases.”

JLR said its EBIT margin will take a one per cent hit because of February’s poor trading.