TIANJIN: Jaguar Land Rover’s sales fell in the second quarter of its financial year after business in China was affected by the slowing economy and a blast at the port of Tianjin which destroyed or damaged thousands of its vehicles.
Sales in the three months to the end of September dropped by 1% to 110,200 vehicles despite strong trading in Europe, North America and the UK as sales in China fell 32%.
Jaguar Land Rover, owned by Tata Motors of India, said Chinese sales fell because of a continuing slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy and planned changes to new models. In addition, about 5,800 vehicles stored at Tianjin were blown up or damaged when an explosion at a chemical warehouse killed 160 people in August.
The luxury carmaker said: “Given the exceptional nature of this event, Jaguar Land Rover is still assessing the damages and it may be some time before the company knows what insurance and other recoveries will be.”
The company’s second quarter included a period when Chinese share prices plunged and the People’s Bank of China devalued the country’s currency. Concerns about China’s slowing economy continued to reverberate on Wednesday as data showed producer prices and consumer price inflation falling.
Shares of Burberry, which sells about 40% of its products to Chinese shoppers, fell before the luxury chain’s trading update due on Thursday. Prudential, the UK insurer with a big Asian business portfolio, was also among the big fallers in the FTSE 100 index.
Jaguar Land Rover’s sales in other emerging markets such as Brazil and Russia fell 12% in the second quarter. The company said it was confident about the future and that its new Jaguar XE and Discovery Sport vehicles were selling well.