SUV & Large Sedan Demand Remains High, Despite Auto Slowdown
Coming off a year in which Jaguar Land Rover reported a 91 percent rise in overall sales in China, the Tata-owned, UK-based group got the green light in record time to launch its 12.1 billion yuan (US$1.9 billion) China joint venture with local automaker Chery. According to the AFP, The 12 billion-yuan (US$1.89 billion) venture “was approved in half the time the process commonly takes in China because ‘Chery was familiar with the approval procedure and did not waste time’, a company spokesman told [Xinhua].”
As Reuters noted when the deal was initially announced last month, the new partnership with Chery will give JLR a local production base in China in Changshu city near Shanghai, which should become operational in 2014 with an annual capacity of 130,000 cars. Initially, JLR and Chery will produce mostly Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles, but plan to later manufacture “some co-branded cars.”
Despite a cooling of China’s red-hot auto market, demand for luxury sedans and well-outfitted SUVs remains high among wealthy Chinese buyers, particularly in inland China, a fact that has not been lost on other high-end marques. For Jaguar Land Rover, Building in China to augment its current exports to the country is probably a good idea, considering the luxury SUV market is set to get even more contentious in the years ahead, with Aston Martin expected to revive its Lagonda SUV by 2014, Bentley recently debuting its EXP 9 F “Falcon”, and Lamborghini eying wealthy drivers in China and Russia with its URUS SUV. BMW also continues to expand its production base in China, and expects SUV and large sedan sales to push a 20 percent to 25 percent rise in sales in China for 2012.