America comes to the rescue.
Jaguar Land Rover is in financial trouble. The UK-based automaker lost nearly $4 billion last year due to falling sales in the world's largest automotive market, China. The reason for this massive sales drop was, mainly, quality control issues at its China production facility. Too many corners were cut. Sales in Europe, including the UK, also fell. All told, global deliveries fell 4.6 percent. However, there was one bright spot: the United States of America.
Bloomberg reports JLR's 2018 sales in the US increased by 7.3 percent, which translates to nearly 123,000 vehicles. The automaker needs to hit these numbers again this year. "If we can keep our volumes around where we were last year, I would be more than happy," said Joe Eberhardt, head of JLR's North America business. "We focus on the things we can control."
Turns out the US is the company's single biggest market and combined with the launch of the all-new Range Rover Evoque and continued high demand for its other premium compact SUV, the Jaguar E-Pace, there's hope for a good 2019. This September, the all-new Land Rover Defender will make its big debut as well and it's expected to be met with high demand, partially due to its iconic status. It's set to go on sale in the US sometime in 2020.
JLR previously announced a dramatic cost savings plan to the tune of nearly $3.2 billion. Some 4,500 jobs worldwide were cut as part of that. Eberhardt added that JLR North America also made a significant contribution to cost-cutting but provided no details.
JLR's parent company, Tata, is still deciding on a larger plan of action that will require raising some $1 billion within the next 14 months in order to provide JLR the money it needs to invest in, among other things, its electric vehicle program. Eberhardt emphasized that "there is always room for further growth and the growth will have to come from new product."
Right, but new product requires huge investments and JLR's parent company needs to find the money for that. Fortunately, JLR can rely on the US market for solid sales. It needs every bit of help it can get these days.