Jaguar Land Rover has announced record UK sales for 2012, but what has been the secret of its success?A stagnant economy with high unemployment and, even for those in work, a lack of job security, might not seem like market conditions conducive to selling luxury cars.
The company sold 68,586 cars in the UK last year, up 19 per cent on 2011. And it’s the Range Rover Evoque, with 18,119 sales, that has been the driving force of those sales, its popularity necessitating JLR to initiate 24-hour working practices at its Halewood plant to cope with demand and leading a 24 per cent increase in Land Rover sales compared with 2011.
And it’s not just in the UK that JLR has been successful. In China the company sold almost 50,000 vehicles in the first eight months of 2012, and is on course for 144 dealerships. On the back of this, it recently announced a joint venture with Chery Automotive to manufacture vehicles in China, and has plans to expand its Pune plant in India. A production facility in Saudi Arabia is also being considered, which would allow JLR to further its aluminium component production.
All this from a car-maker that was sold by Ford in 2008 to Indian company Tata, and was then refused state loans from the UK Government in 2009. It was hard to imagine that by 2012 JLR could be on target for pre-tax profits of £1.5 billion, but that’s exactly what’s happened.
The key to this success has been product, with every new vehicle to emerge under the ownership of Tata Motors proving that cars designed and built in Britain can be every bit as prestigious as their German rivals. The Range Rover has long been at the top of its class, the Evoque is a runaway success, and Jaguar’s models, including the XJ and XF, outsold some of their biggest rivals from BMW and Audi in the UK last year.
The success of existing models, of course, means you have money for the development of new ones; the latest Range Rover, which goes on sale this month, has been very well received by the UK’s motoring press, and the forthcoming Jaguar F-Type sports car is sure to steal sales from Porsche and Aston Martin.
In addition, plans were recently revealed for a £10 billion investment that will allow JLR to grow its UK plants, as well as expand in China and India in order to double global production by the end of the decade, with 16 new models.
Jaguar Land Rover’s 2012 sales also contributed to the highest levels of UK new car registrations since 2008, with 2,044,609 sold in the last 12 months, a 5.3 per cent increase on 2011, making the UK the second largest car market in Europe.
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