JLR suffers pre-tax loss of £3.6bn for year but sees profitability return in last quarter

Jaguar Land Rover made an overall pre-tax loss of £3.6bn for the year ending March 31, it reported today.

It made a cash pre-tax loss of £358m over the 12 months, but when exceptional items are taken into account – the previously announced £3.1bn impairment charge as it wrote down various assets, plus redundancy costs in the fourth quarter – the total loss was £3.6bn on revenue that fell by £1.6bn year-on-year to £24.2bn.

However, the last quarter did see some good news for the company, as it returned to profitability for the three months to March 31, generating £120m of pre-tax profit. The pre-exceptional items figure was £269m, but £149m was swallowed up by redundancy costs.

JLR said that over the financial year it saw encouraging demand for new models including the Jaguar E-Pace compact SUV, Range Rover Velar mid-size SUV, refreshed Range Rover and Range Rover Sport – with both including plug-in hybrid options – and the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace.

This helped lift unit sales in the UK by 8.4 per cent and 8.1 per cent in North America, outpacing industry growth in both markets. Land Rover was also the fastest-growing automotive brand in the US and Jaguar sales rose sharply in Europe. Continued weakness in China, however, led to a 5.8 per cent decline year-on-year in retail sales to 578,915 vehicles. In the year to March 31, Jaguar Land Rover sold 578,915 vehicles in 128 countries.

Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover chief executive, said: “Jaguar Land Rover has been one of the first companies in its sector to address the multiple headwinds simultaneously sweeping the automotive industry.

“We are taking concerted action to reduce complexity and to transform our business through cost and cash flow improvements. The company has returned to profitability in the fourth quarter and already delivered £1.25 billion of efficiencies and savings.”

The figures come in the wake of speculation, in a news story broken by the Press Association, that the manufacturer might be about to be bought by PSA.

JLR said it was on track to make at least £2.5bn of investment. Plans have been announced to assemble electric drive units and battery packs in the UK and invest in the production of the next generation of flagship Range Rover models at Solihull.

Meanwhile, work is under way at Gaydon to centralise Jaguar Land Rover’s automotive design and product engineering activities. New technology centres have also been created in Shannon, Manchester and Budapest.

Speth added: “Jaguar Land Rover is focused on the future as we overcome the structural and cyclical issues that impacted our results in the past financial year.

“We will go forward as a transformed company that is leaner and fitter, building on the sustained investment of recent years in new products and the autonomous, connected, electric and shared technologies that will drive future demand.”

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