Saturday 17 March 2018

UK motor chiefs bullish on avoiding double-dip recession

Robert Lea

BRITISH motor industry chiefs urged people yesterday not to believe statistics suggesting that the sector was on the verge of a double-dip recession.

As Jaguar Land Rover announced soaring profits and Britain's biggest luxury car dealer reported a leap in sales and profits, motoring experts argued that there was a two-speed car market: a strong, V-shaped recovery in luxury car sales and a flatter, U-shaped trend for mass-produced brands.

Evidence of the former came in the performance from Jaguar Land Rover between April and June. The company, reckoned not so long ago to be losing so much money that it might go out of business, reported pre-tax profits of £233m (e280m) for the quarter.

The smartening-up of the Land Rover range and the introduction of the new Jaguar XJ helped JLR to deliver 57,153 units, compared with 35,947 in the same three months in 2009. Sales in Britain are booming, but the icing on the cake is in China, where sales have doubled.

Car dealer Pendragon reported a 50pc rise in half-year pre-tax profits to £15.6m (e18.7m), recovering from the depths of last year's recession. Sales at Stratstone, its branded dealerships selling upmarket marques, are 25pc stronger than in 2009.

Trevor Finn, Pendragon's chief executive, said that the figures, together with those from JLR and its peers, showed that industry figures were misleading.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has reported new car registrations were down 13 per cent year-on-year.

Irish Independent

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