Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) on Monday released its 2020 sales figures, which reflect a considerable hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but the company highlighted signs of recovery as sales in China remained strong.
For the calendar year 2020, Jaguar Land Rover retail sales were 425,974 vehicles, down 23.6 per cent on 2019, reflecting the industry impact of COVID-19 particularly in the first half of the year when plants were shut down for more than two months.
However, the company said it has since seen sales increase quarter-on-quarter by over 53 per cent in the quarter ended September 30, 2020, followed by the 13.1 per cent increase in the most recent quarter.
"2020 was a year of two halves and, although COVID-19 continues to significantly impact the global auto industry, we are delighted to end the year with a second consecutive quarter of sales recovery," said Felix Brautigam, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).
"Our performance in China, the region least impacted by COVID-19 in the most recent quarter, has been particularly encouraging with our sales there growing on both a year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter basis. Other markets are also showing strong signs of recovery, despite second COVID-19 waves across the globe," he said.
Retail sales for the quarter ending December 31, 2020 were 128,469 vehicles, 13.1 per cent higher than the 113,569 vehicles sold in the preceding quarter, but down 9 per cent on the same period last year.
The company said China sales were particularly encouraging as they were up 20.2 per cent on the prior quarter and 19.1 per cent year-on-year.
Sales in other regions, however, have not yet recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels with sales for the quarter lower than a year ago in North America (-17.2 per cent), overseas (-20.0 per cent), Europe (-16.3 per cent) and the UK (-8.9 per cent). But in terms of a quarterly comparison, sales were up on the prior quarter in North America (+31.7 per cent), Overseas (+26.6 per cent) and Europe (+20.5 per cent).
The company CCO also noted that the luxury carmaker, the UK's largest automotive manufacturer, remains well-placed to keep its retailers open for business with online sales solutions, even when doors remain closed through lockdowns.
"An online ordering system in many markets enables people to reserve their vehicle digitally from home. Combined with safe, sanitised click and collect delivery options, this gives Jaguar and Land Rover customers ultimate convenience and flexibility," he said.
JLR said the sales ramp-up of its new Land Rover Defender saw retails rising to 16,286 vehicles in the October to December quarter, up 66 per cent on the preceding quarter with sales of the shorter wheelbase Defender 90 having started.
For Jaguar, retail sales of the multi award-winning all-electric I-PACE were up 69.3 per cent year-on-year with 7,807 sold in the quarter, as demand for electric vehicles continues to grow.
In response to strengthening global demand, Jaguar Land Rover said it has continued to roll out its new range of 21 Model Year vehicles, incorporating the very latest technologies.
The company says it remains committed to its electrification strategy and has a growing portfolio of electrified Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and mild hybrid (MHEV) vehicles, as well as continuing to offer the latest diesel and petrol engines, giving its customers even more choice.
Following the significant expansion over the year, electrified options now extend to 12 models across the Jaguar and Land Rover portfolios, with PHEV available on eight vehicle lines and MHEV on 11, as well as the all-electric Jaguar IPACE.
With sales of new electrified vehicles including the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Range Rover Evoque PHEVs ramping up through the October to December quarter last year, a total of 53 per cent of the company's retail sales for the three-month period were electrified.
This included 6.1 per cent all-electric, 5.5 per cent PHEV and 41.4 per cent MHEV. This brings the share of electrification to 43.3 per cent of the company's sales for 2020, with that figure poised for further growth in 2021 and beyond.
"In today's changing environment we are particularly proud to now offer an electrified version of every Land Rover including various class-leading Plug-in Hybrids. Together with the completely renewed Discovery and Velar this will support sales in the challenging market environment," said Felix Brautigam.
"At Jaguar, the new F-PACE, E-PACE and XF, with significantly enhanced exteriors, beautifully crafted, fully connected interiors, and efficient new powertrains, have been very well received by customers and the media alike. 2021 is a very special year for Jaguar: the legendary Jaguar E-type celebrates its diamond anniversary," he added.
In 2020, the top three best-selling Land Rover vehicles were: Range Rover Evoque, the premium compact SUV; Range Rover Sport, the luxury performance SUV; and Land Rover Discovery Sport, the premium compact SUV.
The top three retailing Jaguar vehicles were: Jaguar F-PACE performance SUV; the E-PACE, Jaguar's first sporty compact crossover; and Jaguar XE sports saloon. In 2020, the top three regions for Land Rover were North America, China and the UK. For Jaguar, they were the UK, China and Europe.