Last week we reported on the doom and gloom in car manufacturing and sales in Europe with sales of mainstream cars falling away and troubled economies – like Italy and France – recording drops of 20 per cent in sales during February. Fortunately, the same isn’t happening in the UK.
Car manufacturing in the UK rose by 23.5 per cent in February – and is up 19.6 per cent for the year to date – and engine building also increased by 3.6 per cent in the month (4.3 per cent year to date). Even car sales held up in the UK with a drop of just 2.5 per cent in February (and just 0.8 per cent year to date), with Ford reporting strong sales of the new Focus to take the trophy as February’s top dog with sales up almost 1500.
But perhaps the most impressive figures come from Jaguar Land Rover, with Land Rover selling (worldwide) a new sales record of 28,029 vehicles in February – up a massive 52 per cent – and Jaguar managing an increase of 32 per cent for sales of 4,288 cars – a total Jaguar Land Rover improvement of 49 per cent.
The rise and rise of JLR is starting to make a real impact on jobs too, with 1,000 new workers being recruited for Halewood to keep up with Evoque demand – and many times more in the supply chain – and maybe as many jobs likely to come on stream when the new engine plant arrives in Wolverhampton.
The key sales figures will be for new car registrations in March with the new plate sales, but it looks like the UK car industry is in much better shape than the European one.