New Range Rover and booming China sales drive JLR to fresh profits record

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Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has posted its biggest-ever profits. The luxury car maker said pre-tax profits grew from £1.1bn last year – the previous record – to £1.51bn.

JLR's owner, the Indian industrial conglomerate Tata, said the increase in profits was due in part to a 76 per cent rise in Chinese sales to 50,994 and the worldwide popularity of the new Range Rover Evoque. But the car maker also saw growth in Europe – despite the ongoing euro crisis. Russian and German sales increased by 38.1 per cent and 22.3 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the group said France saw a 57.4 per cent jump in sales, while surprisingly even Spain was up 18.1 per cent, despite the recession in the country.

Ralf Speth, the chief executive, said the result reflected continued consumer confidence in the two brands. "These record earnings, driven by strong product demand and operating efficiencies, give JLR the financial impetus to sustain its ongoing investment programme."

To keep up with demand, JLR is considering expanding all three of its UK plants, at Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull, and is building a new engine factory in Wolverhampton.

It also plans to produce cars in China for that market. Overall, the strong performance of JLR helped boost Tata Motors' first quarter profits. Tata made a profit of about £700m in the first quarter of 2012, despite falling car sales on the Indian sub-continent.