As goes India, so goes the U.K. and the U.S. As car markets plummet overseas and in the States, is there a silver lining?
21.2% -- the percentage new cars registered in the UK fell by in December.
30.9%. – the percentage they fell in January.
1/5th – the number predicted by the UK motor industry that the UK car market as a whole will shrink by this year.
And, in a colossal coincidence:
$2.3 billion -- the amount Tata Motors paid to acquire the Jaguar and Land Rover brands from Ford last year.
£2.3 billion – the amount the U.K. is pumping into its auto industry as part of its rescue package.
As they say, “as falls Wichita, so falls Wichita Falls.” What happens overseas is in direct correlation to what happens here as it pertains to Land Rover. And it’s not all bad news. Let’s call it bad… and not-so-bad:
Bad: In the U.K., Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has so far laid off 1,500 workers, and its remaining work force has agreed to accept lower wages and less working hours to keep their jobs.
Not-so-bad: It was recently announced that JLR will receive government financial aid to keep production lines moving.
Bad: In India, Tata Motors reports that its total Indian sales volumes, including exports from India, for its fiscal third quarter dropped 31 per cent to 98,760 vehicles.
Not-so-bad: Nevertheless, they are steadfastly pressing on with plans to sell Jaguars and Land Rovers in India, including opening a number of new dealerships, despite indications that demand for the luxury marques will be virtually non-existent as the company struggles in a dire domestic market.
Bad: In the U.K., new car registrations are down dramatically (see above).
Not-so-bad: Dealers in the U.K. are reporting, however, a marked uplift in demand for used cars. "The good news for consumers is that the falls in trade values are being translated into lower asking prices on the forecourt, and there have been clear signs over recent weeks that retail demand has improved as a result," explains Adrian Rushmore, Managing Editor at EurotaxGlass, a new analyst firm. "Values are now at historically low levels, and dealers across the U.K. are hoping that this will continue to provide much needed stimulus to sales over the coming months."
Not-so-bad: To this we can also add the Government’s focus on making credit available to Britain’s largest firms, including carmakers, who are finding it impossible to get loans from banks. And they’re also including cash for “green” research and development, where Jaguar Land Rover leads the way.
Over the weekend, David Smith, the JLR chief executive, said that the Government's £2.3 billion car industry rescue package would do little to revive demand in the short term. He said that urgent help was needed to assist buyers to trade-in old models for new ones and to stop dealerships from going under in the UK, one of JLR's most important established markets.
And so it goes here in the U.S., where Chrysler and GM have accepted so-called “bail-out” money, while Ford – flush from its recent $2.3 billion sale – has managed to eke along on its own. As you’ve read in so many recently posted articles here, JLR is not standing still. They are moving forward with bold new models and mold-breaking new concepts; exciting new “green” initiatives in the use of recyclables, drivetrain innovations and even training facilities. No business prospers when its sits around and waits for things to happen, and this recent downturn may be just the kick in the boot the entire industry needs to start moving forward again at flank speed.
And that’s as true in the U.K. and India as it is here in the U.S.
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