Automotive News, October 2020

Tesla has recorded a fifth quarter in a row of profit, as sales of its electric cars accelerated to a new record despite the pandemic.

The firm said it made $8.7bn in revenue in the three months to September, as deliveries rose 54%.

The firm said it still hoped to meet its goal of delivering more than 500,000 vehicles this year but warned this had “become more difficult”.

Analysts also warned the firm faced mounting competition.

So far, Tesla has delivered fewer than 320,00 cars to customers this year – but nearly half of those – 139,593 – came in the three months ended 30 September.

That was up 54% from the prior quarter and 44% year-on-year.

New UK car registrations fell 4.4% in September from a year earlier, according to the motor industry.

That made it the worst September this century in what is normally the industry’s second most important month.

There were just 328,041 new registrations in the month, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The car sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which closed factories and showrooms.

September is normally second to March as the industry’s most important sales month, because licence plate changes typically prompt a spike in demand.

Luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has restored two-shift working at its UK plants.

Work at its Halewood site in Merseyside, and its Castle Bromwich and Solihull factories in the West Midlands had been scaled back due to reduced global sales, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The motor manufacturer had also shed agency jobs from its UK workforce.

However, a recovery in the Chinese market, the first in the world to emerge from COVID-19 lockdown, and a clearing of excess stock, has led to the increase in production.

Battery electric and plug-in hybrids accounted for more than one in 10 of new cars registered in the UK in September.

Demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) increased by 184.3% compared with September last year, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with the month accounting for a third of the year’s BEV registrations.

The government should commit to a ‘truly world-class package of incentives’ and binding targets on infrastructure to help meet accelerating ambitions for electric cars, the SMMT said.

Electric car sales have bucked the trend during a tough year for UK automotive. The new car market declined 4.4% in September, with 328,041 new registrations – 15.8% lower than the 10-year average for the month.

Luxury car giant Jaguar Land Rover returned to pre-tax profit in the three months to September.

It made £65 million on revenue of £4.4 billion in the period in which it sold 113,569 cars – up 53.3% on the previous quarter but down 11.9 per cent year-on-year due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Sales in most markets continued to be impacted by Covid-19, but encouragingly in China were up 14.6% on the quarter and 3.7 per cent on the year.

Worldwide sales of the new Land Rover Defender rose to 4,508 last month.

The profit compared to a loss of £413m in the three months to June but was lower than the pre-Covid profit of £156m a year ago.

Cost and cash improvements from the Project Charge transformation programme in the quarter totalled £600m. Total savings year-to-date are now £1.8bn and the company is on track to achieve the £2.5bn target for the full year ending March 31.

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