Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) staged a recovery in the final three months of last year, reporting its best-ever cashflow on record, the company said.
The British multinational automotive firm posted pre-tax profits of £439m ($588m) in last three months of 2020 — a boost of £374m over the previous quarter and up £121m year on year.
Revenues recovered to £6bn. This is £1.6bn more than the July-to-September period, although £300m less than at the same time in 2019, it said on Friday.
Growth of car sales in China, as global markets opened up, helped the company make up for the UK’s continued lockdowns. The region gave the company a 20% quarterly sales boost, and while most regions recorded a year-on-year drop, China was up 19.1% on 2019.
Sales were also bumped by the rollout of the revamped Land Rover Defender, selling 16,300 of the new off-roaders, whose launch was delayed by COVID-19.
While it sold 128,469 cars — up 13.1% on the preceding quarter, sales were down 9% on the same time period in the previous year.
The company which is owned by India’s Tata Motors (TTM), lost its status as the UK’s largest carmaker in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic saw production fall by a third. Japanese carmaker Nissan (NSANY) narrowly overtook it.
JLR is also setting aside of £35m to pay to EU fleet CO2 emissions fines for missing carbon dioxide emissions targets.
Earlier this week, new figures showed that UK car manufacturing output fell to its lowest since 1984 amid the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Output fell 29.3% in 2020 2020 to 920,928 units, according to the latest figures issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
December output was down 2.3% to 71,403, with some firms affected by border closures and component supply issues. Production for overseas buyers fell 29.1% in the year, to 749,038 units, while output for the UK fell 30.4% to 171,890.
Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO, said: “These figures, the worst in a generation, reflect the devastating impact of the pandemic on UK automotive production, with COVID-19 lockdowns depressing demand, shuttering plants and threatening lives and livelihoods.”
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