The UK’s largest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, has announced record sales following a strong performance in China and North America.
The luxury car company saw global sales hit an all-time high of 604,009 vehicles, an increase of 16%, producing revenues of £24.3bn – up by 9%.
A strong fourth quarter saw pre-tax profits of £676m, up 17%, with profits for the full year up 3% at £1.6bn.
Jaguar Land Rover’s record sales have been boosted by the continuing weakness of the pound following the Brexit referendum.
The popularity of Jaguar’s new F-PACE sports utility vehicle – the World Car of the Year – has also boosted results, with sales leaping 77% to 148,730 in the last year.
Overall, the Jaguar marque saw an 83% increase in year-on-year sales.
Jaguar Land Rover is investing £4bn annually to extend its model range, and has recently built a new £1bn manufacturing plant in Nitra, Slovakia, as well as continuing to expand its UK facilities.
Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover chief executive officer, said: "These solid results demonstrate the appeal of our products and our ability to deliver strong, profitable and sustainable growth.
“We are continuing to invest significantly in new models and innovation, as shown by the new Land Rover Discovery, the forthcoming Range Rover Velar and all-electric Jaguar I-PACE, reinforcing our commitment to new technologies and providing new and compelling customer experiences.”
British brands in demand
The Jaguar Land Rover figures show that luxury British brands are still very much in demand around the world if the price is right. Retail sales were up a massive 32% year-on-year in China and 24% in North America (24%), and the UK (up 16%) and Europe (up 13%) both performed well.
The weak pound has give a huge fillip to British exporters. A report by influential economic thinktank the EY ITEM Club in April said the pound’s drop, along with increasing evidence of momentum in the UK’s major international trading partners, is expected to spur growth in exports of 6.7% in 2017 and 5.3% in 2018.
Peter Spencer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, said: “Recent data suggest that the pound’s depreciation has boosted manufacturing, while inflation has subdued retail sales growth.
Selling into buoyant markets
“At the same time, unlike 2008 when the pound last had a big fall, we are now selling into buoyant markets. Growth in world trade, which has been in the doldrums for several years, is now stronger than at any time since the initial bounce-back from the recession in 2010.”
Earlier in the year Rolls-Royce – owned by BMW – announced the second-highest annual sales in its history, with 4,011 cars sold globally, up 6pc on 2015.
Aston Martin Holdings, the producer of luxury hand-crafted sports cars, reported record fourth-quarter results in February, and full-year earnings that exceeded £100m for the first time amid strong demand for its new DB11 model.
Meanwhile Poole-based luxury yacht-maker Sunseeker moved back into profit in 2016, with a pre-tax profit of £6m on the back of a 25% increase in revenue to £252.4m, and a 41% increase in its forward order book.
Chasing German rivals
Tata, the Indian company that owns Jaguar Land Rover, has set a target of producing one million vehicles per year as the company chases its chief rivals, German luxury car-makers BMW and Mercedes, which each produce roughly two million vehicles annually.
Jaguar Land Rover’s record sales have eclipsed BMW’s recent announcement of a 7.4% increase in monthly sales in April, and a 5.8% increase in its premium brand sales (including Mini and Rolls-Royce) over the first four months of 2017.
Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, reported a 10% increase in sales for its car division in 2016 in its annual results, released earlier this year.