In 2018, Jaguar Land Rover posted a massive $113 Million loss in the third quarter, a shocking and significant deficit after years of relative prosperity. After some drastic actions, including job cuts and the elimination of some models, things have turned around, and despite the pandemic, JLR recorded a profit of $603 Million in the third quarter of 2020 – a stunning two-year recovery.
The turnaround wasn’t without pain, particularly considering sales were down in 2020 across the auto industry. The two major drivers were the massive cost-cutting efforts of the past few years, and the rollicking success of the new Defender. The Chinese market has also rebounded faster than the rest of the world, spurring more sales there.
While Land Rover's first quarter in their return to profitability was Q2 (July-September, as JLR runs on a fiscal year that doesn’t align with the calendar year), they were further successful in Q3.
While 2020 will still be a serious red mark on the ledger sheet when the books are finally closed, it was of course by no fault of JLR's. The major cause of the return to profit, however, was the success of their Charge+ cost-cutting practices. These ranged from increased efficiencies in the design, engineering, and production of vehicles, to cutting jobs and models. It wasn’t without pain; the iconic Jaguar XJ got the axe, and exciting vanity projects like the Range Rover SV Autobiography Coupe and Discovery SVX will never be built.
However, the task has been done, and although the road ahead will always be difficult for JLR as a smaller automaker, they are now in a strong position for a future of new, greener powertrains and efficient manufacturing.
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