MUMBAI – Jaguar Land Rover appears to be in the midst of a significant rebound since being acquired byMotors Ltd. in 2008.
Fiscal-2011 first-quarter results released this month (April-June 2010) indicate a 64.9% increase in sales to 59,200 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.
Revenues jumped 101% to £2.3 billion ($3.6 billion) for the U.K.-based arm, and operating margins rose to 15.5% in the quarter, compared to a -3% year-ago.
JLR is running at 80% capacity utilization, as key global markets rebound somewhat from 2009’s trough. Retail volumes are up 23% in the U.K. and North America, 18% in Europe and 13% in Russia, while skyrocketing 104% in China, the auto maker says.
A national sales company for JLR was established in China in June to carry the tempo further.
Better planning and more-efficient production scheduling, plus effective cost controls and favorable exchange rates, contributed to JLR’s Q1 results.
Last month,Group Chairman Ratan Tata revealed a 4-year strategy to complete JLR’s transformation. The goal is to put the auto maker on a steady, sustainable growth curve so that it can earn a sizable return on investment for the first time in its history.
Several initiatives are planned or already have been put in motion.
A primary objective is to produce more models from fewer vehicle platforms. In the next two to three years, the platform count will be reduced from nine to four, which will help cut component and manufacturing costs, simplify assembly and allow greater flexibility in production planning.
TML and JLR will collaborate on product development, with the Indian operation lending its expertise in low-cost component design and JLR putting an eye to greater refinement of TLR vehicles.
The U.K. auto maker already has begun looking at potential improvements to the Tata Nano, Indica hatchback and Indigo sedan. Research and development for JLR products is in the planning stages in India.
Details on new models in the works are sketchy, but Jaguar reportedly may launch a long-wheelbase sedan priced at about $40,000 for the Chinese market, a station wagon for Europe and a new sports car.
A small, aluminum-intensive 2-door coupe also could be in the cards, and Land Rover may develop a midsize Range Rover to be assembled in India and priced at about Rs2.5 million ($55,000). The new SUV would fit between the upcoming Evoque, bowing this week at the Paris auto show, and the Range Rover Sport.
TML plans an investment of Rs100 billion-Rs120 billion ($2.2 billion-$2.7 billion) in JLR over the next two years.
Further outlays may be necessary to meet increasingly tougher emissions requirements over the next two to three years, but TML expects JLR to be in position to finance its own operations by 2014.
The strong results of late have JLR hiking its sales outlook for 2010 to 240,000 vehicles, from 210,000 previously.