Recovery is in sight as sales rise at Jaguar

LUXURY car group Jaguar Land Rover nearly trebled its sales last month against January a year
ago, sparking hopes that the recession-hit car industry may be emerging from the slump.

Jaguar Land Rover, which has plants in the Midlands and on Merseyside, sold 16,269 vehicles during the month, of which 2,974 were Jaguars, up 122 per cent, and 13,295 were Land Rovers,
219 per cent higher, the company’s Indian owner Tata Motors said in an update yesterday.

However, figures for the 2009/10 tax year so far were less upbeat, with cumulative sales of Jaguar Land Rover a fifth lower at 153,247, sales of Jaguar down 30 per cent at 39,484 and sales of Land Rover falling 16 per cent to 113,763.

A company spokesman said the figures for January were encouraging, despite the falls in the year to date.

“We have seen improvements in retail sales in the last three quarters from Jaguar and Land Rover, particularly Land Rover, so it does show a stabilisation in our markets, especially the UK and China,” he said.

Jaguar Land Rover has cut production by about 100,000 cars in the downturn as hard-pressed consumers have held off making big-ticket purchases such as cars.

The company sold 65,000 Jaguars in 2008, and about 52,000 last year.

Sales revived in December and the group plans to return production to the 300,000 units it was
making in 2007 “in the next few years”.

The firm also plans to close one of its two plants in the West Midlands, at Solihull and Castle
Bromwich, which employ 5,000 and 2,000 people respectively.

Meanwhile, Tata Motors has appointed Carl-Peter Forster, a former General Motors executive, as the group chief executive officer. Forster, who was head of GM, Europe, will have overall responsibility of Tata Motors globally, including that of its British unit Jaguar and Land Rover.