Jaguar Land Rover posts £534m profit thanks to strong sales in China

The Land Rover Defender. Photo: Jaguar Land Rover

The Land Rover Defender. Photo: Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover posted strong results for 2020 thanks to huge demand in China and sales of its new Land Rover Defender, but warned on supply chain concerns.

Pre-tax profits was £534m ($ 758m) in the fourth quarter of 2020 and £662m for the full year for the company, owned by Tata Motors (TTM). 

Revenue was up 20.5% to £6.5bn in the last quarter of 2020 which it said was lead by “strong sales in China” and global sales of its new Land Rover Defender.

In China, sales grew 127% compared to a year earlier, when the impact of COVID-19 “peaked in that market.”

“In my first set of full-year results as CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, I have been encouraged by the company’s resilience and strong recovery during a uniquely challenging year,” said CEO Thierry Bollore.

As the business continued to recover from the pandemic, retail sales in the fourth quarter were 123,483 vehicles, up 12.4% year-on-year.

Full year retails of 439,588 vehicles were still down 13.6%, although sales in China increased 23.4% year-on-year.

The new Land Rover Defender contributed “significantly” to retail sales, with 16,963 units sold in Q4 and 45,244 units for the full year.

Electric vehicles are also a bright spot for the company. 12 of its models now have an electrified option, and they make up 62% of sales.

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In February 2021 the company announced its new global strategy which includes £1.5bn of exceptional charges in the fourth quarter.

This meant the company posted a pre-tax loss of £861m for the financial year to the end of March.

“Although it is still early days, we have made significant progress in implementing it [the strategy]. This has reaffirmed my confidence that we have the right strategy, the right people and the right product-plans to deliver against our targets,” said Bollore.

“Jaguar Land Rover is well placed to emerge from the pandemic as a stronger and more resilient company that is able to navigate and capitalise on the opportunities ahead,” he added.

The company noted that increasing vaccination rates are helping the global economy and automotive industry recover, but cases are still high in many markets and supply chain issues, in particular for semi-conductors, “have become more difficult to mitigate.”

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It said this is impacting production plans for Q1 but it is working with suppliers to resolve the issues and minimise the effect on customers.

For fiscal 2021/22, Jaguar Land Rover expects sales to continue to recover. 

Watch: Jaguar cars to be fully electric by 2025