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Jaguar drives leap in profits at Tata

Tata Motors reported a stronger-than-expected rise in quarterly profit as robust sales at Jaguar Land Rover more than made up for weakness in its home market in India.

Rising demand for luxury models, especially in China and other emerging markets, has swelled Tata's earnings over the past few quarters as demand for cars waned in India.

Revenues at Jaguar Land Rover rose nearly 41 per cent to £3.75bn, while profits rose 57 per cent to £559m.

China and Russia accounted for 22 per cent of JLR's sales.

Tata, which also makes the ultra-cheap Nano, bought Jaguar Land Rover in 2008 from Ford Motor Co for £1.5bn, and has since turned it into its main profit driver.

Analysts, however, noted that overall car sales in China appear to be coming down, with January data showing a 24 per cent drop compared with a year ago, the biggest fall in more than three years.

In India, car sales are heading for their first annual fall in 10 years.