MERSEYSIDE’S biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is to invest £5bn this year and next in new technology and products, a Sunday newspaper report claims.
JLR, which employs 4,500 people at its plant in Halewood producing two models, is due to publish its latest quarterly sales figures on Thursday.
According to the report, the company will report on Thursday that in the three months to the end of December it achieved retail sales of 88,658 vehicles and wholesale sales of 94,828 vehicles.
JLR, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, will have invested around £2bn in new products by the end of the financial year on March 31 and will spend a further £2.75bn in the year ahead.
The company is in a closed trading period up until the quarterly announcement and was unable to comment on the report.
During 2012, JLR achieved its best-ever sales performance, selling 357,773 vehicles across the globe – a 30% increase on 2011. China overtook the UK as its biggest market for the first time.
However, in January, shares in Tata Motors fell after the company warned investors that profits for the current year will be less than expected.
It blamed low margins on its Halewood-made Range Rover Evoque. Halewood also produces the Freelander 2.
With an average selling price of around £30,000, the recently-launched Evoque is cheaper than the company’s traditional luxury models, some of which carry a price tag in excess of £100,000.
However, with sales of the Evoque booming to 118,000 a year, this cheaper and less profitable model now accounts for a higher proportion of the company’s total sales mix.
Tata also blamed fluctuating international currencies for the profits warning, issued to the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai, where the car firm is quoted.
A weaker dollar has meant that Tata Motors makes less profit from vehicle sales in the important US market. At the same time, a stronger euro has increased the costs of some components.
However, the company has recently started selling its new Range Rover model and is to launch the Jaguar F-Type later this year.
Both of these vehicles are higher end and are likely to improve margins.
JLR’s Halewood operation is now so successful that the company is expanding onto a second Merseyside site – a 405,000 sq ft warehouse in Ellesmere Port called The Phoenix.
The facility will serve as a logistics centre for the car maker and around 300 people will be employed there.