Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jaguar Land Rover aims to double sales this year in India

Jaguar Land Rover, the U.K.-based unit of Tata Motors Ltd. (TTM), aims to more than double its vehicle sales in India this financial year as a growing number of wealthy individuals lifts demand for luxury cars and sport-utility vehicles.

Jaguar Land Rover plans to sell about 1,800 vehicles in the year through March, up from the 891 it sold last year, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Dow Jones Newswires recently.

"From April to August, the company has sold more than 650 vehicles. At this rate, the target of about 1,800 for this fiscal year should be easy to achieve," said the person, who asked not to be named.

An increase in the number of millionaires and billionaires in India is driving luxury car sales, encouraging companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, BMW AG, Daimler AG, Porsche AG and Audi AG to introduce more models.

India's population of high-networth individuals grew 21% in 2010 to 153,000, according to the annual World Wealth Report issued by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini. The high-networth individuals were classified as those with investable assets of at least $1 million, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables and consumer durables.

Jaguar Land Rover, which was acquired by Tata Motors from Ford Motor Co. for $2.3 billion in 2008, now sells the XJ, XF and XK sedans from Jaguar in India. It also sells the Freelander, Discovery and Range Rover SUVs from the Land Rover brand.

Jaguar Land Rover in May opened its first assembly plant in India in the western city of Pune. The plant will initially assemble Land Rover's Freelander 2 SUV from completely-knocked down kits imported from its Halewood manufacturing plant in Liverpool, U.K.

Tata Motors has previously said it eventually plans to assemble other Land Rover vehicles in Pune, but the person said such a move is unlikely this financial year.

After the acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover in 2008, sales of luxury vehicles slumped due to the global credit crunch. Sales have recovered since, turning Jaguar Land Rover into the biggest revenue and profit generator for Tata Motors.

Jaguar Land Rover sold 102,451 vehicles globally during the April-August period, up 10% from a year earlier. Sales in the past fiscal year rose 26% to 243,621 vehicles.

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