Jaguar Land Rover has posted its first profitable quarter since 2020 on the back of rising sales of its Range Rover line-up, especially in the US.
The Tata-owned company said it earned £265 million in profits before tax in the quarter ending 31 December, up from a loss of £52 million in the same period the year before.
JLR’s last profitable quarter was the last three months of 2020, with the company subsequently dealing with the headwinds of rising costs, shortage of key parts including semiconductors, and difficulty ramping up production of its key Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.
JLR posted wholesales (sales to dealers) of 92,345 for the quarter, including sales from its Chinese joint venture, up from 89,899 the previous quarter. Retail sales were down slightly to 84,827 from 88,121, with falls in Chinese and UK sales boosted by a rise in US sales, the company’s biggest market for the quarter.
Range Rover-branded models accounted for just over half of all wholesales minus the Chinese figures, with sales of 40,200.
JLR’s order book remains outsized at 215,000, with 74% of those for the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Defender. JLR described these three as its “most profitable models” in a statement.
The company has been prioritising these higher-margin models during the chip crisis, with sales of smaller cars suffering as consequence.
The Discovery Sport, traditionally one of JLR’s biggest sellers, recorded wholesales of just 6369 globally for the quarter, compared with 23,816 for the Land Rover Defender, its best-selling model.
The bigger Discovery was Land Rover’s slowest seller, with just 1984 units across the quarter. Jaguar posted sales of 16,257 for the quarter, with the F-Pace its biggest seller. I-Pace sales slumped to 1111 for the quarter, down from 1566 in the previous three months.
JLR said the chip shortage had eased in the quarter to help drive greater volume.