JLR global sales figures fell by more than a fifth in July
Jaguar Land Rover has blamed 'market uncertainty' after seeing its global sales slump by a fifth last month.
The West Midlands-based luxury carmaker, which makes its engines on the i54 site in Wolverhampton, suffered a major hit to its key Chinese market, with sales down by nearly half as the growing trade war between China and the US hit carbuyers' confidence.
Sales fell across the board for both Jaguar and Land Rover, with the only bright spot being strong sales for the new Range Rover Velar and the Jaguar E-Pace.
Worldwide sales for Jaguar Land Rover fell 21.6 per cent, to 36,144 cars. Jaguar sales were down 15.2 per cent to 10,992 but Land Rover slumped 24 per cent to 25,152.
JLR is putting a brave face on the sales fall, putting it down to temporary "transitional issues in certain markets" including delays in introducing WLTP, the new international laboratory test for car emissions and pollution.
The complex and time-consuming process of meeting the new Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure is causing problems and production delays for car makers across Europe.
Felix Brautigam, JLR's chief commercial officer, said: "We have had challenges to navigate in key markets this month. Despite that we have lots of reasons to be positive. After some short delays because of the transfer to WLTP emissions regulations we are now well-placed in the premium market. We anticipate the impact of this transfer will be short-lived.
"We are also adapting to the impact of tariff changes in the Chinese market. While this could strengthen demand, the trade conflict with the USA has a negative effect on automotive buyers’ confidence and transaction prices in China. Also the US car market has recently shown signs of softening.
"We remain positive and confident in our award-winning product line-up. The new E-Pace, our sporty compact SUV, is boosting sales for Jaguar. It’s about to go on sale in China and we’re expecting success there too. The electric Jaguar I-Pace, which has impressed the world’s media, is now starting deliveries.
"Demand for Land Rover is also encouraging. Despite market challenges, the Range Rover Velar and newly revised Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models, including the new plug-in hybrid versions, are winning new customers around the world."
JLR's latest figures show July sales in China were down almost 47 per cent, which it blamed on "continued market volatility" in the first month of a cut in import duties as well as the trade tensions with the US.
Sales were also down in 26.5 per cent in Europe and 18.3 per cent in the UK, blamed on the WLTP delays.
"Jaguar Land Rover has made good progress however and all its vehicles are certified or expected to be shortly," said the carmaker.
In the first seven months of the year overall JLR sales are down 2.4 per cent to 354,363 but the company – which makes most of its cars at Solihull and Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands and at Halewood on Merseyside – said it still expected to see sales grow over the year as a whole thanks to its new Velar, E-Pace, revamped Range Rover and Range Rover Sport and a special long wheelbase version of the Jaguar XE for the Chinese market.
Sales of its new all-electric Jaguar I-Pace have started with "a strong order book in excess of six months".