News : Jaguar Land Rover surges forward

Jaguar Land Rover sales have surged forward in April, showing that its current range is hitting the spot in the sales charts. The Evoque and XF are both making a strong impression on the market, but JLR is confident for further gains, notably in growing export markets, such as China.

The Tata Motors Group global wholesales, including Jaguar Land Rover, were flat at 87,377, though. Sales of all commercial vehicles – Tata, Tata Daewoo and the Tata Hispano Carrocera range – were 38,008, in April 2012, down by 8%.

Global sales of all passenger vehicles were at 49,369 in April 2012, up by 7%. Sales of Tata passenger vehicles and the distribution off-take in India of Fiat cars were at 24,226, lower by 9%, over April 2011.

Global sales of Jaguar Land Rover in April 2012 were at 25,143 vehicles, higher by 29% over April 2011. Jaguar sales for the month were 3,603, higher by 17%, while Land Rover sales were 21,540, higher by 32% – making Tata’s UK subsidiary its brightest star.

Keith Adams
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  1. It shows how well British based car manufacturing can do if it is well funded, and properly managed. Alas it took a foriegn company to do it. Leave it to British ownership, the so called experts in the City, they would have shut down JLR, and simply sold off the brand.

    Imagine what other countries would do with not only brands with the heritage, and image of JLR, but triumph, MG, Healy, Jensen and Rover. When you look at all that potential and how we threw it away; it is extremely depressing.

  2. Yes, it is depressing but both the Jaguar and Land Rover marques easily have their most convincing and desirable models in their respective histories.

    We can only hope that some of the other marques you have mentioned will be as equally successful and that we will be saying similar things about their achievements.

  3. Impressive to see how well JLR is doing under Tata ownership. I’d be very interested to read about the management of JLR by Ford. Given how well JLR are doing now it’s obvious in retrospect that they were being held back by Ford management, but how ? What lessons are there to be learned ?

  4. “Yes, it is depressing but both the Jaguar and Land Rover marques easily have their most convincing and desirable models in their respective histories.”

    Not sure why that should be depressing?

  5. It is depressing, becuse it took foreign ownership to do it. Make no mistake I wish Tata well and they have done fantastic things with JLR, but its still dpressing there is no one british who would have taken JLR on and made a successe of it, british invsetors looking for a fast buck and 3 year payoffs of investment has lead to this

  6. @ Stewart:

    Thank you for summarising this so well. I would also add that it took a succession of different owners to achieve this; some of whom were not that successful.

    British owners of these two companies were never this committed and were constantly stiffling investment at a time when it was needed. Tata clearly saw the potential of both companies (Jaguar Cars Ltd and Land Rover Ltd) when looking to buy them off another foreign owner (Ford). Well done to Tata for giving JLR the support and financial backing it needed. No doubt their financial figures for 2011 will be even better than last year’s £1bn profit (and quite rightly so given the success of their current product portfolio).

  7. Interesting snippet during Vince Cables interview on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning. Britains motor industry is now in trade surplus. The value of cars we export exceeds that of cars we import. This is the golden era of Britains Motor industry!

  8. Well Jaguar and Land Rover had a long period under a stable British owner, called the UK government, and a fat lot of good it did themn!

    In retrospect, it seems odd that the 2 companies were separate for so long, I guess back in the 80s the main part of Land Rover was seen as the utilitarian part, rather than the upmarket side that dominates their sales today. Perhaps, instead of floating Jaguar (too small to survive by itself) it should have separated out Jaguar Rover Triumph and floated that instead…

  9. “Impressive to see how well JLR is doing under Tata ownership. I’d be very interested to read about the management of JLR by Ford. Given how well JLR are doing now it’s obvious in retrospect that they were being held back by Ford management, but how ? What lessons are there to be learned ?”

    Variety of factors, the first big one was styling. The retro styles of S-type, the last generation XJ didn’t appeal to the buyers of German cars that JLR needed to attract. It was styling influenced by American owners that had a very old fashioned idea of Britain.

    Then there was badge engineering. Going up against the 3 and the 5 series with cars with too many bits from the Ford part bin was never a good idea. It wasn’t fair to call the X-type a Mondeo with a Jaguar badge, but that was the impression the public formed.

    Then there was the requiremnt to stop different parts of the Ford empire from competing with each other. The XK could never be that hot, because it might take sales from Aston Martin.

    Real shame, but Ford got alot right. They investing heavily in improving JLR reliability and quality. They also put alot of money into aluminium construction, for lightweight cars.Of course Ford then got into trouble, so JLR was a long way down the list in terms of Fords investment priorities.

    Ford could give Jaguar/Land Rover the cash, but it could never give the company the freedom to sytle and develope the cars to the same extent as TATA. I think that Ford’s failure was a combination of not understanding the brand, the premium car sector and the internal politics of a big company.

  10. I wonder if they cold buy and save SAAB. a small and medium badge engineered car could fill the Rover(2wd luxury “ladies Rolls'” (riley elf))) and a Saab (AWD Sports) pocket rocket. I reakon the SAAB name could be picked up rather cheap and JLR would do wonders with it. in a way it would be ‘time again’ as the SAABs of the 70’s used the Dolomite engine. alex

  11. I’ve just returned from Amsterdam where I saw a lot of Range Rovers particularly in black, so the signs are there that JLR are doing well particularly in affluent European cities.

  12. Jaguar should be concerned about their falling sales in the US market, though Land Rover are doing well there. Jaguar’s sales are down 14% in April 2012 compared to last year. They need to get their diesels certified for US use and get the new XF estate introduced over there too. (Figures from Automotive News).

  13. To be fair to Ford, Jaguar sales now aren’t that much better now (discounting the X-type) than they were then,as large 4 door saloons aren’t a boom market.

    Land Rover is the real winner, as premium SUVs have become MASSIVELY popular in the last few years. The RR Sport, launched under Ford was an important car for LR, as it was their first ‘bling’ car, the Evoque follows this trend. I know Ford needed the cash, but I bet they wish they still had LR…

  14. Agree 100% with #10, Bartlebe- I think Ford was very good for JLR- they just couldn’t go the extra mile. I don’t think JLR would have been anywhere near as attractive to a premium market sector virgin such as TATA had it not been for the very strong groundwork put in by Ford.

    I just wonder whether others would not have made the same mistake in terms of fielding ‘retro’ new models had they been in Ford’s position- after all, such cars as the ‘New Beetle’, various Chrysler hot-rod effect cars, and lately, the Fiat 500 have shown that retro can sell cars. Not to mention the BMW PseudoMINI!

    As for the certification of the diesels for the US market- I hope it happens, but I would imagine that given the American distaste for diesels (and the perception that they are more polluting) would probably end up being a niche product- although one worth pursuing. Its very difficult to break down the prejudices of the American car buying public- who still cling to the outmoded belief that ‘there ain’t no substitute for cubes’, and that they will always be safer in an SUV (despite the fact that they take much longer to stop, and are much more prone to rollovers). If diesel JLR products are seen to be driven by the right people then sales would most likely follow- the Prius famously is known to be owned by the likes of Leonardo di Caprio, etc, however superficial such endorsements may be.

  15. Ford spent millions in Jag and Land Rover, and if they had waited they would have got their returns but as per British management, the americans sold off the business which would make the most profit (premimum brands) to save its flagging US business. Ford of USA have always thought they were better than its other business’. Take the Mondeo, came out in the 90’s – a little bland but was a good product and sold well in Europe, but in the US where it was the Contour it was never marketed properly (even though it was miles better than the opposition!) because it was not designed in the US!

  16. As I recall the XF and current XJ were in development under Ford ownership. In other words Tata got lucky but made their luck on the back of the predicament of the US auto sector in 2007/8 after Ford bought in Alan Mulally from Boeing who changed Ford’s strategy. The shame is the wrong call made on styling in the late 1990’s by both Ford and Jaguar’s then management. Given what happened to Aston Martin, Volvo and Land Rover though i don’t think that would have changed anything on Ford’s part.

  17. Its easy to criticise Ford for off loading JLR just as it started to blosom, but lets not forget the dire straights the US Auto Industry was in 2008/09. GM and Chrysler where both effectively nationalised with Chrysler eventually being given to Fiat for nothing. Ford avoided this by selling off non-core businesses to concentrate on the Ford brand with its one Ford global model. This seems to be paying off. Ford are now firmly back in the black. This is what will matter to its investors, not whether it still owns JLR or not. By the way, why say the X type failed for using Ford Architecture when todays succesful JLR range, including the Evoque are still totally dependent on Ford engineering and technology?

  18. @18, Paul, sadly all too many reviewers criticised the X Type for being Mondeo based, and it became a popular prejudice.

    If the X Type had a fault, it was that it was too much a ‘Mini Me XJ8’- and the styling was not well enough resolved to carry it off.

    I’ve warmed to the latest Jag offerings of late- but nobody seems to have criticising them for being too much like Anglicised Lexii- which to me is possibly the worst thing anyone could say of them. Nonetheless, they seem to carry it off remarkably well regardless.

  19. @18 & 19

    The prob with the Xtype was that it just did not feel like a Jag. I remember being at the motor show when it was first shown in the UK, when I sat in it I said to my brother then it just did not feel like a Jag – and when you sat in the XJ, XK and the Stype you hunkered down and felt like you were in a sport car, the xtype felt like you were sitting in a Focus or a Golf. The mondeo had a better sitting position and felt more like a Jag!

  20. Unlike almost any other top manager at Ford, Alan Mulally had no interest in premium European cars. His car of choice at Boeing was a Lexus. So no surprise that Aston Martin, Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover were all up for sale in his Ford master plan. The upside for JLR is that there is no longer a constant supply of Americans on 2 year secondments determined to produce short term results, before disappearing back to Dearborn. What JLR now has are experienced car industry executives with nothing to prove, who are mostly German or have worked for the premium German manufacturers and know that they aren’t going to move somewhere else in 2 years time.

  21. @22 and that’s what German industrial philosophy is all about- despite the issues with the BMWRover group, many are in it for the long haul to try and clear out the s**t and nurture the products and brands that they have. Let’s not get this wrong, Ford straightened a lot of the problems out but the short term strategies really helped to slow the recovery down.

    In my view there is no such thing as a British or American CEO because so many short term or ‘panic’ decisions are made, especially at the knives of investors who have no interest in the products or company whatsoever.

    The British disease is still alive and well but kept in check because of people (most from outside the UK and USA) prepared to take the time understand the business and are able to communicate what’s going on, and in general, people, workers, have a slightly better understanding of the sensitive situation we are in. If the unions had gone crazy then I have no doubt that no-one would even consider JLR with a shitty stick and it would so easily have been run down, sold and shipped out directly to China.

    In my view JLR’s position is still a massively complex one which is still trying to untangle itself from the Ford era but hopefully the CEO of JLR will be able to guide the company out to be it’s own entity, rather than rely on others base technologies. This will take an awful long time and a consistent approach.

  22. I hope that someone at JLR does something about the Defender- it is a bit of an embarrassment in their line up, not because it isn’t a capable off-roader (it most certainly is!), but because its build quality is so appalling- despite being practically hand-built.

    The Defender replacement needs to retain all the good qualities of the old model, but be easy to build, yet retain mostly flat panelled surfaces for ease of repair and of adaptability, and be modular, as there will always be a market, however small, for special-purpose vehicles. And it shouldn’t set out to be either trendy or ‘retro’ for the sake of it- as almost any LR product (bar the early Freelander and the uberbland Mk2 RR) will be able to stand on its own merits, without ‘designer boutique’ pretensions- leave that crap to the PseudoMINI.

  23. @23 Being hand built is the reason for it being built so – and I use the word relatively – appallingly. Everything has moved on in the last 50 or so years with advances in technology. There’s no reason why the new vehicle can have Toyota Landcruiser 2 abilities but with better off-road abilities which are associated with Land Rover products.

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