Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar Cars Ltd. and Land Rover divisions no longer will report U.S. monthly sales, citing a strategy that stresses quality over quantity.
The U.K.-based luxury auto makers continued to make public monthly tallies following their sale by former parentMotor Co. to earlier this year, but have ceased the practice as of this month.
In August, Jaguar U.S. deliveries rose an estimated 1.3% over year-ago to 1,377 units, while Land Rover’s sales of 1,961 marked a 59.6% decline, according to a Ward’s estimate.
Jaguar and Land Rover spokeswoman Barbara Barrett says in an e-mail response that the divisions are niche auto makers and as such no longer are compelled to report sales figures.
“The quality of our sales – market, model and derivative mix – is more relevant to our performance and profitability than absolute volume,” she tells Ward’s.
“A continued focus on the monthly sales in specific markets does not present a realistic view of Jaguar and Land Rover’s true positions in their respective segments or overall business performance and can create a distorted and potentially harmful commentary.
“There is no absolute requirement to issue monthly figures locally, and the company does not, as a matter of policy, issue global figures,” she adds.
Barrett also says the auto makers’ quality-over-quantity strategy has been in place for some time, even before the sale to Tata. While under the auspices of, however, the companies were mandated to report sales figures.
The decision not to report monthly sales is “not based on (our) new owners at all,” she says. “Before we were following the Ford mandate of reporting, and now we’re not following that anymore.”
With their sale to Tata, Jaguar and Land Rover now are private companies and not required to report sales and other financial information to stakeholders.
However, some privately held auto makers continue to divulge such information, includingLLC, which was sold to private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP last year.
Before Ford bought Jaguar and Land Rover in 1989 and 2000, respectively, both companies were private but reported their sales, although only Jaguar announced them on a monthly basis.
While exclusive auto makers, such as Ferrari SpA and Lamborghini SpA, do not report sales, they typically sell only a few thousand vehicles annually year, whereas Jaguar and Land Rover sell thousands each month.
Tata’s decision to stop reporting sales for its British luxury brands is perplexing, says David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, MI.
“Generally when you stop reporting, there’s some reason behind it. Most of the time, you want to give some indication of how you’re doing,” he says.
“They can do what they want because they’re a private company, but I’m not sure how hiding numbers is helpful. We’ll (eventually) see what the real underlying reason is, but right now we just don’t know.”
Erich Merkle, an auto analyst with Crowe Chizek and Co., says the decision is “bad form,” adding Jaguar should want to make it known that its sales have risen slightly, largely due to the success of the ’09 XF sedan.
Jaguar delivered 914 XFs in the U.S. in August, which is more than double any other model in its lineup, Ward’s data shows.
“I think the reason behind it is to keep analysts from making comments and keep reporters from writing stories,” Merkle says of Tata’s decision. “They have to be careful what they wish for, because they might not get any press coverage, and that might not be good.”