JLR counts the cost of the coronavirus pandemic

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Words: NZ Autocar
1 Aug 2020

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), like other UK car makers, is counting the cost of the coronavirus pandemic as sales collapse and losses mount.

In Q2 of this year the firm sold 74,067 vehicles, a drop of 42 per cent compared with 2019. A glimmer of hope is that sales in June were down by 25 per cent compared with the same time last year.

The upshot is a loss of just over $NZ800m, close to how much the firm lost in the whole of 2019. The firm was in the midst of implementing a company-wide overhaul, Project Charge, when the pandemic struck, and the board says that liquidity is sound, with new funding and good reserves.

The UK market has been hard hit with JLR sales down by around two-thirds. However, production worldwide has resumed, apart from Castle Bromwich which reopens in a week.

On the upside, JLR says sales in China were down by just three per cent in Q2, and up by two per cent in June in the US. And new Defender is selling well, demand building according to JLR.

But further cost cutting has been implemented, the target for the year raised from $NZ3b to $NZ5b. Whether or not cost cuts will affect job numbers is unclear.

CEO Ralf Speth told UK Autocar that the company will emerge from the pandemic with product and financial measures in place to return to sustainable profit. Former Renault CEO, Thierry Bolloré, is set to take over the helm of JLR from Speth in a month’s time.

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