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Demand for luxury cars continues as Jaguar Land Rover sees uplift in fourth quarter sales
April 20, 2021

Jaguar Land Rover sold 123,483 vehicles in its fourth quarter, 12.4% more than the same time last year, although total sales for the year were 13.6% lower. The luxury car maker, which has manufacturing sites in Halewood, Merseyside, and Castle Bromwich and Solihull in the West Midlands, revealed its China sales were up 127% compared with a year ago when that market was heavily impacted by COVID-19. Sales in North America were also up year-on-year by 10.4%, while other regions remain lower than pre-COVID levels, including overseas markets (-10%), the UK (-6.8%) and Europe (-4.9%). The award-winning new Land Rover Defender contributed significantly to the overall year-over-year growth, with 16,963 units sold in the quarter. Other Land Rover models with increased sales in the quarter include the Land Rover Discovery Sport (+28.6%), Range Rover Sport (+20.7%) and Range Rover (+15.8%). Jaguar models up in the quarter include XF (+28.4%), XE (+5.6%) and F-TYPE (+55.8%). For the full 2020/21 fiscal year, Jaguar Land Rover global retail sales totalled 439,588 vehicles, down 13.6% on the previous year as a result of the impact of the pandemic Growth in China was strong, with retails reaching 111,206 vehicles, up 23.4% year-on-year. Sales in other regions have not yet recovered to pre-COVID levels with North America down 14.3% and the UK, Europe, and overseas markets each down more than 20%. By model, the new Land Rover Defender contributed 45,244 sales in the year, while other models were down year-on-year, reflecting the impact of COVID, particularly earlier in the year. Jaguar Land Rover continued to roll out electrification technology across its model range. Twelve of the company’s 13 nameplates are now available with an electrified option, with plug-in hybrids (PHEV) available in eight models and mild hybrids (MHEV) in 11 models. As a result, the mix of electrified vehicles retailed in the fourth quarter grew to 62%, with two per cent for the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE, 7% PHEV and 53% MHEV. For the full year, the retail mix of electrified vehicles was 51%, including four per cent for the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE, 5% PHEV and 43% MHEV. Felix Brautigam, chief commercial officers, said: “While the COVID-19 pandemic has an ongoing impact on the global auto industry, I am pleased to end the financial year with sales up year-on-year in the last quarter. “Encouragingly, the steady recovery throughout the year follows the direction of our Reimagine strategy. The quality of our sales improved even more than the volume, with a focus on our most profitable car lines, higher specifications and lower incentives. “Despite very different COVID restrictions worldwide we also achieved our objective of balanced sales across our key markets.” He added: “At Land Rover we are delighted with the continued growth in demand for the new Land Rover Defender in the quarter and we’re very proud to see it named Supreme Winner, Women’s World Car of the Year 2021. “This is the first time a Land Rover has won at these awards, bringing the total global trophy count for the new Defender to over 50 so far. The completely refreshed Discovery and updated Velar, which is now also available as plug-in hybrid, will strengthen Land Rover sales further.” He said Jaguar was encouraged by the sustained sales performance of XE, XF and F-TYPE, as customers responded positively to the new designs and comprehensive upgrades: “Order intakes for the just-released new F-PACE and E-PACE are promising. March also marked an historic moment – the 60th anniversary of the legendary E-type, which was ground breaking when it was launched in 1961. “Such a spirit of innovation also drives our reimagination of Jaguar as an all-electric modern luxury brand.” Jaguar Land Rover will report audited results for the financial year ended March 31, 2021, in the second half of May. The company’s sales performance has been in line with expectations and it anticipates reporting significant positive free cash flow in the fourth quarter, and break-even to positive cash flow for the full year. At March 31, 2021, the company had around £4.8bn of cash and short-term investments (unaudited) and around £6.7bn of available liquidity, including the £1.9bn undrawn committed credit facility maturing in July 2022. Furthermore, the company has now extended £1.31bn of the rolling credit facility to March 2024.

£30m government funding for cars of the future including Cheshire magnet plant
April 13, 2021

The Government is funding a new plant in Cheshire to make magnets for use in cars. It is part of an overall £30m investment to boost pioneering research into battery technology, the electric vehicle supply chain and hydrogen vehicles. Twenty two studies will receive a share of £9.4m, including proposals to build a plant in Cornwall that will extract lithium for use in electric vehicle batteries, a plant to build specialised magnets for electric vehicle motors in Cheshire, and lightweight hydrogen storage for cars and vans in Loughborough. The Government-backed Faraday Institution is also committing £22.6m to continue its work to further improve the safety, reliability and sustainability of batteries. This funding comes ahead of the phasing out of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, as pledged in the Government’s 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution. Research into alternative ways to power vehicles is a fundamental part of this transition, ensuring the UK remains a world leader in automotive technology and boosting jobs and skills in regions leading the way. Technology in batteries for electric vehicles is vital to the UK’s car industry, including the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port which is currently waiting to hear its fate and the fate of its 1,000-strong workforce from owner Stellantis. Bosses are considering whether to build electric cars at the Cheshire site, or shift production to Europe, and talks are ongoing with the Government over its support for the industry. Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said today: “We have set an ambitious target to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. To support that it is crucial we invest in research so we can power ahead with the shift to electric vehicles as we build back greener from the pandemic. “The world leading research announced today showcases the very best of British innovation and it will support all stages of the automotive supply chain to make the switch to electric vehicles – from developing batteries, to exploring how to recycle them.” Investment in battery technology will help motorists and the environment by improving performance and reducing costs of electric vehicles. It is also good for businesses and workers, supporting the creation of new jobs, new industries and the development of technologies to power the automotive and energy revolution in the UK, said Mr Grimstone. The Cheshire investment is linked to a study that has identified a promising approach to create a new UK magnet plant that will produce high quality lightweight magnets for motors in electric vehicles.

£1m support scheme for aerospace and advanced engineering industry
March 01, 2021

A new £1m scheme has been launched to protect Lancashire firms in the civil aerospace sector and its supply chain. Set up by Lancashire County Council, the initiative is in response to the impact caused by the coronavirus. The Lancashire Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing (AEM) Watchtower project will use local industry knowledge to develop a dashboard of the health of strategically important aerospace suppliers as they stabilise, recover and grow during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will identify organisations that need, and will most benefit from, tailored coordinated business support and will help engage them with the right support at the right phase of the crisis. The funding is part of the county council’s new £12.8m Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund, which is targeted at tackling some of the economic impacts of Covid-19 and stimulating growth. The two year programme will include five elements: An intelligence function to identify and protect Lancashire’s key aerospace assets and businesses A talent retention service to help people who have lost skilled jobs in aerospace to find new work Support for businesses to find new contracts which fit their manufacturing capabilities nationally and internationally Support for businesses to innovate, for example, developing new products or new ways of working, and A campaign to reinforce that Lancashire remains a perfect location for aerospace and advanced manufacturing businesses seeking somewhere to grow County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “We are pleased to support this vital industry in our county which employs around 13,000 people and has been hard hit by the economic impact of COVID19. “There has been a temporary collapse in demand for AEM products as a result of lockdowns, which has impacted on the aerospace, automotive and power markets and supply chains. “In turn, significant numbers of high value jobs have been furloughed and potentially lost, impacting on our skills base and wealth generating capacity.” He added: “The Lancashire AEM Watchtower project is amongst the first to be approved for funding from the Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund, which we have launched to take urgent action to help the sectors and occupations in our county most affected by the pandemic.” The county council’s financial contribution of £1m will support 40 aerospace supply chain small to medium-sized businesses, help safeguard, and create 200 jobs, and bring in £30m-worth of revenue into the county, he said. Claire Whelan, board director at Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and a member of the LEP’s Aerospace Task Force, said: “This package, which represents a serious commitment of funding by County Hall, delivers one of the key recommendations made in the Lancashire Aerospace Task Force’s Recovery Plan published last autumn. “The impact of COVID-19 has diminished decades of sustainable growth in the sector, creating supply chain vulnerability and the loss of good jobs, built from a rich heritage of over 100 years in aircraft production in Lancashire. “This is why it is important that any interventions for the sector have been articulated and developed by the industry themselves to ensure we retain these capabilities and skills in the county, and continue to lead the way in innovative civil and defence aircraft manufacturing.” The project will start in Spring 2021 and run for two years