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Jaguar Land Rover Ready to Take on German Car Industry

Jaguar Land Rover is currently strutting its stuff on the big stage and intends getting bigger. The company is exhibiting in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), right in the back yard of America's 'Big Three' of Motor City, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. The big cat has reason to purr. 2013 was a banner year for JLR, with a record 425,000 vehicles sold. The company made £1.68 billion profit on a turnover of £15.8 billion and grew around 20% on 2012's figures.

Jaguar Land Rover is currently strutting its stuff on the big stage and intends getting bigger. The company is exhibiting in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), right in the back yard of America's 'Big Three' of Motor City, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. The big cat has reason to purr. 2013 was a banner year for JLR, with a record 425,000 vehicles sold. The company made £1.68 billion profit on a turnover of £15.8 billion and grew around 20% on 2012's figures. This is impressive stuff and JLR's global sales chief, Andy Goss, is in a mood to take on the world's biggest and best in the car industry. His targets aren't those big US companies, though, he has his sights set on the Germans.

Since 2011, JLR has built a new £500 million factory, employed another 1,400 people and has announced another £1.5 billion investment. Now, as Goss explains, they are ready to take on the German car industry. He says: "These are transformative investments. We now have a British car industry that is gearing up to go toe to toe with the German brands. We are much smaller. We don't have the ambition to be the same size as them. But certainly we have the credibility in the same market segments. It wasn't that long ago that the perception was that the British car industry was dead. Now, nothing's further from the truth."

For anyone who remembers the sad state of the British car industry in the 80s and into the 90s, it is heady stuff indeed. Then, strikes, lay-offs and lamentable quality characterised the British car industry but these days it is all about record production, profits and top-drawer quality. Much is made, rightly, of JLR's performance but perhaps all of this recent success can be traced back to Nissan's opening of their Sunderland factory in the dark days of 1984. Nissan proved that Britain could still make cars and make a profit. There was nothing wrong with the workers, it was just that the systems were all wrong.

Now the likes of JLR are carrying that banner forward. The company makes desirable cars and makes them well. Exports account for the vast majority of cars produced and the biggest single market is no longer the UK, it is China, which buys around a third of JLR's output at £5.2 billion. The company is now looking forward to launching a small executive saloon and Jaguar's first SUV. The luscious F-Type is also on the way. Goss's dream of taking on the German's might just become reality.

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