Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) global sales fell by 5.9% in 2019, but company bosses say a positive second half of the year and new models will boost its performance in 2020.
JLR said the figures represented “more challenging industry conditions” as global car sales dipped. But commercial boss Felix Bräutigam said the overall results masked progress in the second half of the year, calling 2019 “a year of two halves” for the firm.
JLR has been particularly hit by its struggles in China, where sales fell by 13.5% in 2019. But sales improved in the region in the second half of the year, with double digit year-on-year increases in each of the last six months of 2019.
Bräutigam credited “intensive work with our retailers, combined with significant progress and product improvements” for the turnaround. Improving performance in China has been a key focus of JLR's ongoing turnaround programme, which helped it return to profit in the most recent financial quarter.
Sales declined by 4.9% in Europe and 1.7% in the UK during 2019, but North America provided a bright spot, growing 1.8%. Bräutigam added that JLR “chose not to weaken the iconic Jaguar brand” by cutting prices to increase sales volume.
Bräutigam believes those models will continue to sell well in 2020 and is anticipating growth for the newly updated Land Rover Discovery Sport. The launch of the new Land Rover Defender is also expected to provide a substantial boost.
Notably, 6% of JLR cars sold last year featured a plug-in hybrid or electric powertrain. In the UK, 23% of Range Rovers and 20% of Range Rover Sports sold were plug-in hybrids.