“Tough month” hits JLR as takeover rumours abound

Weak market conditions in China have hurt Jaguar Land Rover sales in April 2019, as rumours of a merger with French carmakers PSA Group continue.

The company said it had seen its “best ever” sales in the US, with a strong performance in the UK. However this was offset by massive declines in key overseas markets.

Overall JLR reported that retail sales in April 2019 were down 13.3%, with 39,185 vehicles sold, compared to April 2018.

Sales in China declined 45.7% compared to the same month last year. Sales in other overseas markets were down 22.3%, said the company, and in Europe overall sales were down 5.5%.

However in the UK, sales were up 12.1%, and up 9.6% in North America.

JLR reported 11,462 Jaguar vehicles sold in April this year, down 13.7% year-on-year. Land Rover retailed 27,723 vehicles, down 13.1% compared to April 2018.

It said that the introduction of the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE and the Range Rover Evoque are “encouraging” but the sales performance of other models were lower.

Felix Brautigam, Jaguar Land Rover chief commercial officer, said: “Although this was a tough month for us due to continuing pressures in China, we are delighted to see good growth in the UK and the US.

“Once again we strongly outperformed the UK market and the US marked its best ever April sales. This reflects the strength of our brands and continued demand for our unique and evolving product line-up.”

Jaguar Land Rover total retail sales for the calendar year to date (January – April 2019) were 198,101 vehicles, down 9.1% compared to the same period last year.

Struggling JLR has been the subject of takeover rumours in the past week. It has been suggested that Peugeot and Vauxhall owner PSA Group, based in France, was looking at a deal for the company. Tata Motors, current owners of JLR, have denied this. Tata bought JLR from Ford for £1.15bn in 2008.

As it looks to expand its offering, JLR has also been linked to a takeover of London cab company Addison Lee, which is heavily involved in driverless passenger transport.

The company also caused uproar this year when they announced that manufacturing of the new batch of Land Rover Defenders would be completed in Slovakia. The company has invested £1bn in the 4×4 production site in Nitra.

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