Au­tomaker to build com­pact SUV in China

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By AN­GUS MCNEICE and LI FUSHENG

Bri­tish pre­mium au­tomaker Jaguar Land Rover has an­nounced it will build its new com­pact SUV Jaguar E-PACE in China to tap into the craze for such ve­hi­cles.

The com­pany said its plants in the United King­dom are close to full ca­pac­ity, and it ex­pects de­mand for the five-seat E-PACE would be high af­ter the mid-sized F-PACE SUV be­came the fastest-sell­ing car in the com­pany’s his­tory, with 80,000 sold so far this year.

JLR launched the E-PACE in Lon­don on Thurs­day, with a stunt driver mak­ing it into the Guin­ness Book of World Records af­ter mak­ing a 15.3 me­ter jump and 270-de­gree bar­rel roll in the ve­hi­cle.

In China, the car­maker’s joint ven­ture, Ch­ery Jaguar Land Rover, will build the cars at its fac­tory in Chang­shu, Jiangsu prov­ince. Ve­hi­cles pro­duced there will be for lo­cal cus­tomers. The car will go on sale in China next year.

The joint ven­ture, which started pro­duc­tion in late 2014, is cur­rently man­u­fac­tur­ing the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Dis­cov­ery Sport, and Jaguar XFL in China.

John Zeng, man­ag­ing direc­tor of LMC Au­to­mo­tive Shang­hai, said the lo­cal­ized model will help JLR to make faster in­roads into the com­pact SUV seg­ment in China, which is cur­rently dom­i­nated by the Audi Q3, the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA.

SUVs have been the fastest grow­ing sec­tor in the Chi­nese mar­ket, with their sales soar­ing nearly 17 per­cent year-onyear in the first half of the year, ac­cord­ing to the China As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Their fast growth, which LMC be­lieves will con­tinue for quite a while, is in stark con­trast to other seg­ments, such as sedans, mul­ti­pur­pose ve­hi­cles and mini­vans, whose sales fell, rang­ing from 3.2 per­cent to 25.3 per­cent, in the same pe­riod in China.

In Eu­rope, au­tomaker Magna Steyr will build the E-PACE in Aus­tria, start­ing later this year, and it will also make the all-elec­tric Jaguar I-PACE model from 2018.

Pan Qing, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Jaguar Land Rover China, said: “The Jaguar brand has caught the imag­i­na­tion of Chi­nese con­sumers, as ev­i­denced by 144 per­cent yearon-year growth in the first six months of 2017.

“The E-PACE suits the needs and tastes of Chi­nese con­sumers from both a de­sign and per­for­mance per­spec­tive, and we are con­fi­dent that the new­est mem­ber of the Jaguar port­fo­lio will fur­ther en­hance Jaguar Land Rover’s com­pet­i­tive­ness in China.”

China, where some 120,000 JLR ve­hi­cles were sold in 2016, is the com­pany’s largest sin­gle-coun­try mar- ket, gen­er­at­ing one-fifth of global sales.

JLR’s re­tail sales for June were up 65.3 per­cent year-onyear in China to 12,004 units, with nearly 7,000 made in China by Ch­ery Jaguar Land Rover. Its UK sales were up 3.8 per­cent to 9,061 units, Eu­rope up 3.7 per­cent, hit­ting 12,939 units and North Amer­ica up 3.2 per­cent to 9,907 units.

Andy Goss, JLR sales oper­a­tions direc­tor, said: “Jaguar Land Rover saw an­other pos­i­tive per­for­mance in June, led by strong sales in China, both from im­ported ve­hi­cles and our Chi­nese joint ven­ture.”

JLR, which man­u­fac­tures ve­hi­cles un­der the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, said Jaguar sold 15,343 ve­hi­cles in June, up 16.4 per­cent from last June. The com­pany said sales of the new Land Rover Dis­cov­ery con­tinue to grow, fol­low­ing its launch in North Amer­ica and China.

num­ber of JLR ve­hi­cles that were sold in China in 2016

Con­tact the writ­ers at an­gus@mail. chi­nadai­lyuk.com

BLOOMBERG

Em­ploy­ees work on a Jaguar au­to­mo­bile on the pro­duc­tion line at Tata Mo­tors Ltd’s Jaguar as­sem­bly plant in Cas­tle Bromwich, United King­dom.

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