Land Rover sets UK monthly sales record

Land Rover recorded its best-ever month of sales in the UK in March 2010, and the 62-year-old company has also seen global sales of new vehicles rise rapidly in the first three months of this year.

But the company also spoke of its unhappiness at this month's new vehicle excise duty (VED) rises - dubbed the "showroom tax" - which will affect its business.

Land Rover sold 67 per cent more vehicles in the UK last month than in March 2009, while global sales in March 2010 rose by more than 43 per cent and are up 36 per cent for the period January-March 2010 compared with the same three-month period last year.

Land Rover sales in China rose 168 per cent last month and are up 192 per cent in the first quarter of this year. Sales have also been particularly strong in Korea and Brazil. 

North America sales rose around 23 per cent in March 2010. China is now the company's third-largest market after the UK and North America, with more than 2,000 vehicles sold in China last month.

Sales last month were up 139 per cent in Switzerland while Turkey was up 150 per cent, Austria up 53.4 per cent, Spain up 67.2 per cent, Germany up 59 per cent, France up 27.8 per cent and Netherlands up 38.6 per cent.

Land Rover managing director Phil Popham said today: "We have had an incredible start to 2010. March has seen an all-time record in our home market which is extremely encouraging.

"The sales increase is mainly owed to the phenomenal response received from customers and media to the award-winning 2010 model year Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Discovery 4 and Freelander 2. It is the most efficient and technologically advanced line-up of vehicles Land Rover has ever had, ensuring a continued demand for our brand."

Jack Dromey, deputy general secretary of the Unite union, said: "Jaguar Land Rover workers in Castle Bromwich and Solihull produce world class vehicles.

"Soaring sales will boost our case for the future of both plants. They are the jewel in the crown of manufacturing excellence in Britain."

The showroom tax, which considerably raises VED rates for owners of the most polluting vehicles in the first year, came into effect on April 1. The Range Rover falls into the new highest rate of VED, with owners having to pay £950.

A Land Rover spokeswoman said today: "We are not wild about these new VED rates. It's another tax that's being imposed on consumers."

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