Jaguar Land Rover last year sold more vehicles than ever before, helped by strong growth in the crucial Chinese market and a string of new launches.
The carmaker, which was bought by India’s Tata Motors in 2008, sold a record 425,006 vehicles in the 2013 calendar year, up 19 per cent on 2012, according to an emailed statement from the company.
Sales growth at the group outstripped German rivals in China, where a newly affluent population has driven demand for luxury cars in recent years.
“JLR is just starting its journey in China while the Germans are very well established in the country,” said Deepesh Rathore, an independent autos analyst based in New Delhi. “They should be able to sustain that for the next couple of years.”
The group’s two British brands recorded sales growth of 30 per cent in the region, while rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW posted growth of just 20 per cent and 10.6 per cent, respectively.
David Cameron, UK prime minister, said on Twitter that the sales numbers announcement from the British marques, which were bought by India’s Tata Motors in a landmark acquisition in 2008, was “great news for Britain and for jobs”.
JLR’s positive results in China also contrast with those of Bentley, which last week said sales had fallen 3 per cent in the region amid a recent crackdown on exuberant spending and ostentatious purchases.
There are concerns that the rapid expansion in the region may soon peter out and global carmakers like JLR are looking to other emerging markets for the next phase of growth.
JLR is building its first full overseas facility in China, but it already has manufacturing operations in India and recently announced plans to invest £240m opening another new plant in Brazil.
Land Rover sold a record 348,338 vehicles in 2013, up 15 per cent year on year – helped in part by strong demand for the Range Rover Evoque and the popularity of the new Range Rover Sport.
Sales at Jaguar grew 42 per cent to 76,668 units in the year that the carmaker launched its first new sports car in decades – the F-Type.
The record sales figures suggest that a good performance from JLR will once more prop up the Tata Motors business, which is battling weak consumer sentiment and slow economic growth in India.
Analysts at Kotak Institutional Equities, a broker, expect 20 per cent year-on-year growth in volumes at JLR to help cancel out severe losses at the standalone business when Tata Motors posts its results for the quarter ended in December, largely as a result of the slowdown in India’s commercial vehicles sector.
“India is a small market,” Rathore adds. “It will take many, many years for India to give any real numbers to any car manufacturer.”