British Invasion, Part 2: Jaguar Land Rover Sales Soar in U.S., No Thanks to Cars

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
british invasion part 2 jaguar land rover sales soar in u s no thanks to cars

It’s odd that distinctly British popular music dried up around the time the last vestiges of British Leyland disappeared from the nation. Rover Group bit the dust at the turn of the century, with its associated nameplates finding new homes in unlikely places.

Perhaps we have cumbersome, money-losing car conglomerates to thank for New Wave and Britpop. Maybe the Spice Girls killed everything. Who knows.

Jaguar and Land Rover, having once shared the same BL umbrella, were already orphans by that time, ultimately finding each other again thanks to the temporary love of foster parent Ford. Now owned by India’s Tata Motors and nowhere near as financially dodgy, Jaguar Land Rover is on a product tear. It’s these new models you can thank for the automaker’s record sales year in 2017 — both globally and in the United States.

Don’t thank traditional sedans.

Globally, JLR’s 2017 volume surpassed 2016 — another record year — by 7 percent. The Jaguar brand recorded a 20 percent uptick in global sales, with Land Rover posting a 2 percent increase. In the U.S., rising sales of both brands saw JLR carve out a 9 percent volume increase. The growth was split between Jaguar (up some 27 percent) and Land Rover (up 1 percent).

However, it’s not a continued love for all models across the range that’s boosting sales. Indeed, Jaguar’s sedans posted steep slumps in December. The compact XE, arriving at U.S. dealers in May 2016, ended its first full year on the market with an understandable year-to-date sales increase. Still, December brought a 39.2 percent year-over-year sales decline.

The midsize XF sank 29 percent last month — its fourth December decline — ending the year with a volume loss of 31.7 percent. The stately XJ fared no better, falling 39.7 percent in December. Total volume for 2017 was 29 percent lower than 2016’s figure.

In the sporting category, there was a true increase to be found with the F-Type, but not much of one. December sales rose 0.8 percent, year-over-year — meaning three extra buyers took home an F-Type. For the year, sales rose 0.96 percent, but let’s round that up to 1 percent in the interest of charity.

It was the F-Pace SUV that really brought home Jag’s bacon last year. Introduced in May 2016, the F-Pace’s first full year, coupled with first-full-year XE sales, delivered that impressive growth number. Sales have since reached a plateau, but the arrival of the smaller E-Pace SUV early this year should add significant volume to the brand’s balance sheet. The confusingly named I-Pace electric SUV will tempt green buyers not longer after that.

A bevy of fresh faces raised Land Rover’s fortunes in 2017. The next-generation Discovery arrived mid-year, replacing the boxy and beloved LR4 and sending Disco sales into the lower stratosphere. Discovery sales rose 173.2 percent in December. The lookalike Discovery Sport saw its sales drop 11.6 percent last month, for a year-to-date decline of less than half a percent.

Land Rover’s growing Range Rover family welcomed the Velar late last year, adding some 6,152 sales to the brand’s tally. The classic, top-flight Range Rover saw its sales rise 4.4 percent in the U.S. in 2017, while the Range Rover Sport watched its sales tumble 11.4 percent in a slowly declining market. Meanwhile, the aging Evoque lost 18 sales in December, year-over-year, but closed out 2017 with a sales gain of 8.2 percent.

Looking at these figures, it’s a head-scratcher as to why Land Rover thinks the Range Rover name could do with a non-traditional vehicle, perhaps even a sedan.

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

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  • Stuki Stuki on Jan 09, 2018

    If tailgate to front seatbacks are 6+ feet, the floor with rear seats folded is flat, and it comes with some semblance of a tow rating, that wagon will be a great car for hauling a Thruxton to track weekends at faraway tracks..... OTOH, if you can't fit a decent mattress flat in the back of it, I'd rather just get a sedan.

  • Kyree Kyree on Jan 09, 2018

    It's uncanny how similar the XE looks to the old XF.

  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.