60pc fall in turnover behind Land Rover Ireland demise
TURNOVER at Land Rover Ireland plummeted almost 60pc to €47.3m in the 21 months to the end of last September as hard-pressed Irish consumers bought fewer off-road vehicles for suburban school runs. Profits at the company fell to €527,000 from €914,000 for a previous 12-month trading period.
Land Rover Ireland ceased trading last September and handed its activities over to a third-party importer, OHM. It cited the poor economic environment and the impact of carbon taxes as the reasons for handing over the franchise.
Accounts just filed with the Companies Registration Office for Land Rover Ireland detail the slide in the company's financial performance.
"The sales volume achievable in Ireland has now reduced to such a level that the existing national sales company business model that Land Rover Ireland operated under was no longer deemed viable for the Land Rover business going forward," the accounts note.
"Senior management from Land Rover Ireland's parent company, Land Rover Group, therefore decided that the business would be managed by a third-party importer."
In January 2006 alone, there were 408 new registrations for private-passenger Land Rover vehicles completed in Ireland, and a further 197 newly registered for commercial use.
Those figures were up from 335 and 138 respectively in January 2005. For the whole of 2006, nearly 1,576 new Land Rovers were registered here for private use and a further 943 for commercial use.
But the love affair between once well-heeled consumers and 4x4s ended as the recession squeezed wallets.
Last month, just 29 new registrations for private-use Land Rovers were completed in Ireland, while an additional 11 were registered as commercial vehicles.
Those figures compared to 26 and 34 in the same month a year earlier. For the whole of 2009, only 89 Land Rovers were registered here for private use and 149 for commercial use.
Land Rover is now owned by India's Tata Motors, which yesterday announced that the former head of Opel, Carl-Peter Forster, as its new CEO.
Three weeks after parting company with David Smith, the chief executive who had overseen the $2.3bn (€1.7bn) sale of Jaguar Land Rover from Ford in 2008, Tata motors said it had hired Carl-Peter Forster.
Most recently the head of the European end of General Motors, including Vauxhall, Mr Forster has been appointed as CEO of Tata Motors across all its global operations, with special responsibility for growth at its Jaguar and Land Rover brands.