Prestige car sales set to take off as wealthy Asia spends freely
THE year looks like being a prosperous one for the car industry, particularly the likes of Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley and Rolls-royce as the ultra-wealthy Asians flash their cash.
In November, Jaguar Land Rover showed how business was booming with its plans to build a new engine factory in Wolverhampton and add 1,000 workers at its factory in Solihull. This 25 per cent staff increase at the factory is now followed by news that it is likely to expand its factory near Liverpool to cope with demand for the Evoque, the baby Range Rover which is at full production and selling like the proverbial hot cakes. JLR is the UK’S largest automotive design, engineering and manufacturing employer. It is owned by India’s Tata Group.
Volkswagen Group owns Bentley, which in December had its second best global sales month and the best since the financial downturn in 2007. It sold 1,059 cars – up 69 per cent on December 2010. Sales for the year also recovered by 37 per cent to reach 7,003. America remains its best market (sales up by a third to 2,021) with China now second, with sales doubling to 1,839 and likely to become number one this year. An 88 per cent boost in Germany saw mainland European sales reach 1,187. However, the United Kingdom was “extremely challenging”, notes Bentley’s chairman and chief executive, Wolfgang Dürheimer, with a five per cent increase to 1,031 sales. Globally, more than a third of cars were the Continental GT. Bentley employs nearly 4,000 at Crewe and is the third largest R&D investor in the UK automotive sector.
The country’s largest car producer is Nissan Sunderland, which in its 25th year set a new record of 480,485 vehicles, well ahead of the 423,262 in 2010 – which was the first time any British factory had passed the 400,000 mark.
The best month was last November, with 46,606 cars. It was the first full year of round-the-clock production of the Qashqai models, which reached 301,277. The other big seller is the new Juke, on 132,606 and the factory also makes the Note.
HOT SPOTS: Bentley’s Continental and Nissan’s Qashqai are big sellers.