Jaguar reports £1 billion profits

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The Independent Online

Jaguar Land Rover is celebrating a turnaround in fortunes after the British car maker reported pre-tax profits of more than £1 billion.

The company, which is owned by Indian company Tata Motors, said profits increased to £1.1 billion in the year to March 31, up from £14.6 million the previous year. Revenues increased 51% to £9.9 billion.

Car sales were up 26% to 243,621 cars as its new Jaguar XJ and Land Rover ranges proved popular and demand strengthened, particularly in emerging markets such as China.

The results represent a remarkable turnaround from two years ago when the company slumped to a loss as the car market collapsed amid the global economic meltdown.

Tata Motors, controlled by billionaire Ratan Tata, bought the company from Ford for £1.5 billion in June 2008.

But soon after the acquisition, the global car market went into reverse and the company said it was considering closing one of its production plants in the West Midlands in a bid to cut costs.

But as the car market began to recover, the management last year performed a U-turn and said that all three plants - at Castle Bromwich and Solihull in the West Midlands and Halewood on Merseyside - would stay open.

With sales showing growth, the company announced an increase in investment and said it would create an additional 1,500 jobs at its Halewood plant.

The investment in new models has contributed to the current success with its Jaguar XJ and revamped Land Rover models selling well in China, Russia and the US.

The company expects to roll out its new Range Rover Evoque later this year and said it would invest £1 billion a year on new production for the next five years.

There have also been reports that Jaguar Land Rover is considering opening another plant in the UK, possibly near Wolverhampton, or in India, although these have not been confirmed by the company.

The strong performance of Jaguar Land Rover helped boost the full-year results of Tata Motors. Its revenues increased 33% to 1.2 trillion rupees (£16.3 billion) in the year. Its pre-tax profits nearly trebled to 104 billion rupees (£1.4 billion).