Port blast dents Jag profits

JLR chief executive Dr Ralf Speth
JLR chief executive Dr Ralf Speth

Luxury British car-maker Jaguar Land Rover has warned it will post a lower annual profit this year, due to a blast at a Chinese port that damaged thousands of cars and factory investments.

Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, does not expect to match the £2.61 billion pre-tax profit it made in 2014/15.

China’s Tianjin port suffered a large chemical explosion in August which damaged around 5,800 Jaguar Land Rover cars held there at the time, at a cost of £245 million.

The firm has also announced it will double the size of an engine plant in Wolverhampton under a £450m expansion programme, creating several hundred new jobs.

Total investment in the site, which opened a year ago, now stands at £1bn.

But Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Ralp Speth told Reuters: “We will have this year a lower profit number than last year.

“It’s (because of) the investments number and this... very special event in China.”

The car-maker has in recent years boosted its investment in a number of plants in the UK, Slovakia, Austria, India and Brazil.

The firm’s Jaguar C-X75 features in the latest James Bond film Spectre.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Today’s news that JLR is doubling its Wolverhampton site with an additional investment of £450m is further evidence that the British automotive sector can compete with the best in the world.

“More than 10,000 jobs have been created and about £3.5bn has been invested in its Midlands manufacturing sites since 2010.”