There's one model in particular to thank.
Jaguar Land Rover continues to make an impressive financial recovery following significant losses over two years ago. In Q3 2018 JLR posted a troubling $113 million loss. Immediate action was taken by way of job cuts and the elimination of unnecessary models, specifically the ultra-limited Ranger Rover SV Coupe. As painful as they were, the benefits continue to pay off.
The automaker's latest 2020 global sales report states it made a pretax profit of $603 million during the third quarter of the fiscal year 2020/2021 (October 1 - December 31). Some of the key contributing factors included a 20 percent increase in China sales compared to the previous quarter, and a 19.1 percent increase year-on-year.
Other regions also saw improved quarterly sales over the previous quarter but remain down compared to the same time last year. All told, global sales dropped by 9 percent to 128,469 compared to Q3 2019. The new Land Rover Defender has also been a hot commodity with sales reaching 66,286 units, an impressive 66 percent increase from the quarter prior. JLR says it expects to see continued gradual sales gains thanks to not only continued demand for the Defender, but also recently refreshed vehicles like the Range Rover Velar, Land Rover Discovery, Jaguar F-Pace, E-Pace, and the XF.
"We are pleased to report these strong profits and record third-quarter cash flows," said Chief Financial Officer Adrian Mardell.
"It reflects our focus on prioritizing profitable sales and delivering cost and cash improvements. While sales have not yet fully recovered to pre-Covid levels in most markets, it was pleasing to see China sales up year-on-year for the second quarter in a row and sales of the new Defender continuing to grow." Other encouraging signs include the recently announced Brexit trade deal between the UK and the European Union that avoids tariffs on auto parts and vehicles.
JLR notes that all of its factories and a majority of retailers remain open despite the spreading virus. In the UK, buyers are taking advantage of the "click and deliver" online sales method. The automaker's newly appointed CEO, Thierry Bollore, plans to announce a new business plan that takes the current state of the world into account "in due course."