JLR March sales down 8% on diesel worries in Europe

UK’s largest automaker and a unit of Tata Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, reported a 7.8% dip in its March retail sales due to weakness in its home market.

Much of the damage came from Jaguar sales, which were down 12.7% at 24,300, while Land Rover sales declined by 5.7% to 59,432.

“UK industry sales were down 15.7% in March and 12.4% in the quarter, more than explained by lower diesel sales, although March 2017 was an all-time industry record with increased sales in advance of an increase in vehicle taxes in April 2017,” it said.

Felix Brautigam, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Commercial Officer, said weaker market conditions in the UK and Europe are driven by lack of consumer confidence and lower demand for diesel vehicles.

“But even against this backdrop it’s good to see that we have closed our financial year with record retail sales,” he said.

He said new models like Range Rover Velar continued to drive growth.

“Sales of the completely refreshed 18 Model Year Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, including our PHEV option, are still ramping up. For Jaguar, sales of the new E-PACE are gathering momentum,” Brautigam said.

He said I-PACE, the company’s first battery electric vehicle and billed as  world’s smartest five seater sports car, is just going on sale, he said.

Despite the poor year-end performance, for the full financial year, total retail vehicle sales at the car and SUV maker were up 1.7% at 614,309.

New models including the Range Rover Velar and Land Rover Discovery were responsible for the increase, the company said.

Sales of 18 Model Year Range Rover and Range Rover Sport and the Jaguar E-PACE are ramping up, it added.

The highest growth for the full-year was seen in China at 19.9%, followed by North America at 4.7% and other overseas markets at 3.4%.

Full year sales in the UK were down 12.8% and in Europe down 5.3% due to uncertainty over diesel.