Sales momentum shifts up a gear at luxury car maker
Luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover marked the end of 2020 with a second successive quarter-on-quarter recovery in sales, despite the continuing impact of COVID-19.
The group, which builds cars at sites in Halewood, Merseyside, and Castle Bromwich and Solihull in the West Midlands, said retail sales for the quarter, ending December 31, 2020, were 128,469 vehicles, 13.1% higher than the 113,569 vehicles sold in the preceding quarter, but down nine per cent on the same period last year.
China sales were particularly encouraging, up 20.2% on the prior quarter and 19.1% year-on-year.
Retail sales in most other regions also continued to recover and were up significantly on the prior quarter in North America (+31.7%), overseas (+26.6%) and Europe (+20.5%).
However, sales in these regions have not yet recovered to pre-COVID levels with sales for the quarter lower than a year ago in North America (-17.2%), overseas (-20.0%), Europe (-16.3%) and the UK (-8.9%).
The sales ramp-up of the new Land Rover Defender saw retails rising to 16,286 vehicles in the October to December quarter, up 66% on the preceding quarter with sales of the shorter wheelbase Defender 90 having started.
For Jaguar, retail sales of the multi award-winning all-electric I-PACE were up 69.3% year-on-year with 7,807 sold in the quarter, as demand for electric vehicles continues to grow.
For the calendar year 2020, Jaguar Land Rover retail sales were 425,974, down 23.6% on 2019, reflecting the industry impact of COVID-19, particularly in the first half of the year when manufacturing plants were shut down for more than two months.
However, the company has since seen sales increase quarter-on-quarter by more than 53% in the quarter ended September 30, followed by the 13.1% increase in the most recent quarter.
In response to strengthening global demand, Jaguar Land Rover has continued to roll out its new range of 21 Model Year vehicles.
The company remains committed to its electrification strategy and has a growing portfolio of electrified Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and mild hybrid (MHEV) vehicles.
Following the significant expansion over the year, electrified options now extend to 12 models across the Jaguar and Land Rover portfolios, with PHEV available on eight vehicle lines and MHEV on 11, as well as the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE.
With sales of new electrified vehicles including the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Range Rover Evoque PHEVs ramping up through the October to December quarter, a total of 53% of the company’s retail sales for the three-month period were electrified.
This included 6.1% all-electric, 5.5% PHEV and 41.4% MHEV.
This brings the share of electrification to 43.3% of the company’s sales for 2020, with that figure poised for further growth in 2021 and beyond.
Felix Brautigam, Jaguar Land Rover chief commercial officer, said: “2020 was a year of two halves and, although COVID-19 continues to significantly impact the global auto industry, we are delighted to end the year with a second consecutive quarter of sales recovery.
“Our performance in China, the region least impacted by COVID-19 in the most recent quarter, has been particularly encouraging with our sales there growing on both a year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter basis.”
He added; “Other markets are also showing strong signs of recovery, despite second COVID waves across the globe.
“We are well placed in keeping our retailers open for business with online sales solutions, even when their doors are closed through lockdowns. This is also evidenced by the Land Rover website being ranked #1 in the most recent J.D. Power Study.
“An online ordering system in many markets enables people to reserve their vehicle digitally from home. Combined with safe, sanitised click and collect delivery options, this gives Jaguar and Land Rover customers ultimate convenience and flexibility.”
He said: “At Land Rover we have been delighted with the reception of the New Defender, which has just been announced as a European Car of the Year finalist.
“Land Rover’s most capable and durable model ever was also recently named Top Gear’s ‘Car of the Year’ as well as winning the ‘Unstoppable Force’ award. With 28 global accolades, we are gratified to see the vehicle recognised as worthy of the Defender name.
“In today’s changing environment we are particularly proud to now offer an electrified version of every Land Rover, including various class-leading Plug-in Hybrids. Together with the completely renewed Discovery and Velar, this will support sales in the challenging market environment.
“At Jaguar, the new F-PACE, E-PACE and XF, with significantly enhanced exteriors, beautifully crafted, fully connected interiors, and efficient new powertrains, have been very well received by customers and the media alike.”