The launch of the F-Type two-seater sports car and popularity of Range Rover’s “baby” Evoque model drove worldwide sales up 15.9% to 434,311 vehicles, with revenues climbing 22.8% to £19.4bn and pre-tax profit surging 49.4% to £2.5bn. The operating margin nudged up 2.7 percentage points to 17.5%.
The XF saloon was Jaguar’s biggest-selling model, with 49,000 models rolling out showrooms, while the Evoque was Land Rover’s most popular, with 123,000 units sold.
However, JLR’s success masked analysts’ disappointment at the performance of its parent company Tata Motors. Since JLR was sold in 2008 by Ford for $2.5bn (£1.4bn) to Tata, the British business has helped prop up its Indian owner.
Tata Motors reported fourth-quarter profits 39.2bn rupees (£395m), down from 39.5bn rupees in the same period last year below, and below City consensus expectations of 46.1bn.
However, on annual basis the business did see some improvement, with full-year revenues rising by 23.3pc to 2.3trillion rupees and consolidated profit before tax up 38pc to 18.9bn rupees.
Ralf Speth, chief executive of West Midlands-based JLR, said: “[This year] has proven to be a solid year for Jaguar Land Rover, based on the demand around the world for our engaging products including the Range Rover Sport and F-Type Coupe.
“Together, these activities have driven a solid financial performance for the company which continues to deliver on its strategic growth plans. These plans will see us invest in 50 new product actions over the next five years supported by our nurturing parent Tata Motors”.
The company did warn that’s sterling’s continued strength – which makes JLR’s products more expensive to foreign buyers – had had an impact in the final three months of the year.
In its annual results, parent Tata Motors blamed the 33% drop it suffered in sales of passenger and commercial vehicles to 1.32m on India’s “sustained deceleration in the economic growth, high inflation, higher fuel prices, reduced availability of finance, elevated interest rate regime” adding that these factors “continued to impact the demand for the entire auto industry in general and commercial vehicle industry”.