UK car industry racing back as Jaguar sales rise

Marion Dakers

JAGUAR Land Rover smashed its annual sales record in 2013, helped by the soaring global demand for luxury British cars that has revived the fortunes of the UK motor manufacturing industry.

The company, which sells 85 per cent of its cars abroad, sold 425,006 vehicles last year, a rise of 19 per cent.

More than 348,000 Land Rovers were sold in the year, up 15 per cent, while 76,668 Jaguars left the showroom, or a whopping 42 per cent more than the previous year.

In China, the firm’s biggest market, sales were up 30 per cent to 95,000. JLR said it also had broken sales records in 38 countries including Russia, Brazil and Korea.

This follows Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ announcement last week that China was now equalling the US as its largest source of sales.

British motorists bought 14 per cent more cars bearing the Jaguar and Land Rover marques last year, outstripping a 10.8 per cent rise in the UK’s overall new car market.

JLR, owned by Indian conglomerate Tata since 2008 but based in Coventry, has bounced back from near bankruptcy over the last six years as new Range Rover models and growing clamour for the Jaguar range revived sales.

Last month, JLR unveiled plans to build a new factory in Brazil to keep pace with demand from Latin America. It has also pledged to create 1,700 new jobs at its Solihull plant, as part of a £2.75bn spending package this year.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders predicted last week that Britain’s car factories will beat the production record set in the 1970s by 2017.

The industry group is set to publish 2013 production data on 23 January, with the figures expected to show that more than 1.5m cars were built in Britain, the highest level since before the recession and edging closer to the 1.92m vehicles made in 1972.

The UK car industry surpassed its all-time export record in 2012, with 1.2m vehicles shipped abroad, or 83 per cent of all cars made in the country.