Wednesday, November 16, 2011

China overtakes US in Land Rover sales

China has pipped the US to become the second single largest market for Tata Motors-owned Land Rover. In July-September, the sport utility vehicle (SUV) maker sold 9,235 units in China, compared to 9,010 units in the US. The UK is the single largest market for Land Rover.

The firm, famous for the legendary off-road prowess of its large, luxury SUVs, saw a jump of 79 per cent in retail volume in China, as the world’s most populous nation bought more Land Rovers than the combined volume of the US and Canada. In fact, just days after the Range Rover Evoque was open for pre-sales, China accounted for a fourth of the 30,000 pre-launch bookings.

China’s worldwide share rose to 16.5 per cent, from 10.3 per cent in the corresponding quarter last year, with total sales, both Jaguar and Land Rovers, rising to 10,869 units, according to data disclosed by Tata Motors. Tata Motors officials said the company was talking to a local partner in China, who could participate in setting up a local assembly unit to bring down costs further and make products more affordable.

Ralf Speth, chief executive officer, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), said, “Discussions with a potential partner in China for an assembly operation is on. The demand for JLR products is strong in China, and we expect them to remain strong in the coming days.”

JLR is betting on emerging markets like China, India and Brazil, as the European region continues to battle with its debt problems and the US economy slows.

“The situation in Europe is really very complex. Nobody at this moment can predict what’s going to happen from a financial point of view or from a political point of view,” said Speth.

Retail volume for JLR in Europe (excluding Russia) was down two per cent at 26,271 units in the first half of the financial year, with Jaguar sales declining by 25 per cent. Retail sales in the UK, JLR’s biggest market in the world, fell by 8.5 per cent to 25,663 units during the same period.

While Tata Motors’ assembly plant in India is already operational, where it makes the Freelander SUV, it is believed the country has already bought the first lot of the Evoque launched earlier this month, carrying a price tag upwards of Rs 44.75 lakh.

Tata Motors hopes to keep the momentum, with continuing market roll-out of the Evoque and Jaguar XF, in addition to the launch of the 2.2-litre diesel version of the luxury sedan. Other refreshed products of JLR will also hit markets in the ensuing quarters.

“The fact that despite having an average model age of 6.7 years, Land Rover volumes are still strong. Starting with the launch of the Evoque, all its brands are to introduce new models in the next five years. With its average model age declining to 2.5 years by 2015, we expect JLR volumes to increase from 243,000 units in 2010-11 to 290,000 units in 2012-13,” stated a Credit Suisse report.

Source: Business Standard

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