Jaguar Land Rover reports all-time high profits
Global sales increased 22% to 374,636 vehicles, supported by product launches including the new Range Rover, Jaguar all-wheel drive XF and XJ and the XF Sportbrake.
Sales were up 48% in China, 27% in Asia Pacific, 20% in the UK, 18% in Europe, 9% in North America and 19% in other overseas markets.
The carmaker also reported revenues of £15.8bn, up 17% year on year (£13.5bn last year).
Commenting on the results, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Dr Ralf Speth said: ‘The positive result for the financial year demonstrates that we have strong demand for our great, solid product portfolio all around the world.
He added: ‘Jaguar Land Rover invested significantly in the product creation process, in our advanced manufacturing sites and created more than 3,000 jobs. This commitment is set to continue with a sustained programme of investment which will see us spend in the region of £2.75bn on new product, people and infrastructure in the year to March 2014.’
The results show how positioning is paramount in the car industry and Jaguar Land Rover are in pole position, according to one car industry expert.
Christian Stadler, who is associate professor of Strategy at Warwick Business School, said: ‘These are fantastic figures from JLR. They have added 8,000 jobs over the past two years and they target exactly the right customers at the moment: rich people in growing car markets like China, the US, and Russia.
‘In mature industries like the car industry, positioning is particularly important and JLR’s customers are people who are not hit by the economic crisis to the extent that they need to delay the purchase of a new car.
‘The new Range Rover Evoque model is a perfect example of this strategy. Offered as a two-wheel-drive version the model still has the looks and high-riding position of a 4×4. This allows JLR to charge a premium to customers who value the image of an off-road vehicle without ever needing its capacity.
And Dr Stadler believes JLR’s announcement means the future for the UK car industry is bright despite the country’s economic woe.
‘The outlook for the UK car industry is positive as historic weaknesses are no longer a major concern,’ said Dr Stadler. ‘In a 2009 report the New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team was concerned about high labour costs, lack of skilled labour and tough environmental regulations. None of these are a great weakness today.
‘The first will be less of an issue in coming years as automation reduces the importance of labour costs. The second is less of an issue during the current recession as more engineers are looking for jobs, and the third turns out to be an advantage as UK manufacturers are ready for customers who are concerned about issues like climate change.
‘On top of this manufacturers value the UK car industry’s labour flexibility – a notable difference compared to somewhere like Germany.’