Jaguar Land Rover adds 3rd Defender shift to meet demand

LONDON — Jaguar Land Rover has added a third shift of Land Rover Defender SUVs at its Slovakian plant to close an order backlog for the company’s best-selling model.

Available in three body lengths, the Defender has been JLR’s top seller for the past seven quarters as JLR prioritized higher-margin models amid chip shortages.

Off-road vehicles topped the automaker’s wholesale (sales to dealers) chart for the quarter ended December 31 at 23,816, company figures show. Defender orders remain high, according to JLR, about a quarter of the company’s 214,000-strong order books.

“As we move into three shifts, we are seeing more and more orders on the Defender, starting in the fall with retail launch. [sales] Interim CEO Adrian Mardell said during the earnings call to announce the quarterly results.

The company posted its first profit in eight quarters in the quarter ended December 31.

JLR is focused on ramping up production of the Defender, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, calling them its “three most profitable models”.

The three models accounted for 64% of the company’s wholesale sales, up three-quarters as vehicle sales from its joint venture in China were excluded from the mix.

JLR has been forced to cut production of more affordable models as the chip crisis continues to hamper the company’s ability to build cars. The Defender factory in Nitra, Slovakia, was excluded from the cut.

Wholesale sales of the Range Rover Evoque compact SUV, the automaker’s traditional best-selling model, fell below 10,000 units in the second quarter of the model’s history alone.

Meanwhile, the Land Rover Discovery Sport midsize SUV, which used to sell well, sold 6,230 units, the worst since its launch.

Wholesale volumes of Discovery’s large SUV, also manufactured by Nitra, fell to just 1,924 units last quarter, the lowest since its launch in 2018.

JLR’s two most expensive models, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, were the second and third best sellers of the quarter respectively, pushing the company’s selling price above £70,000 ($87,000), Mardell said. I’m here.

“Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and the MLA architecture on which both models are built are the foundation of our business model and business success,” Mardel told analysts.

According to Mardell, JLR’s typical sales volume has increased from about 27,000 today to about 40,000 per month in the absence of production constraints.

“Today we are far from normal,” he said. “We believe the challenge to 2023 will continue to be supply, not demand.”

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