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.