Jaguar Land Rover’s seemingly unstoppable growth saw a slight setback in February with the firm announcing a six per cent dip in sales for the first time in several years.
The unexpected drop was attributed to changes in the firm’s model line-up rather than a turnaround in its fortunes though.
The Midland car-maker revealed global retail sales figures of 28,689 vehicles for the month, compared to 30,487 in February 2014.
The latest sales figures come in the wake of the end of the line for Land Rover’s long-serving Freelander model, which is being replaced by the all-new Discovery Sport.
Although the Jaguar side of the business has not seen a similar vehicle run-out it also saw a drop in sales, though it is preparing for the launch of its XE compact executive saloon - dubbed by some as the most important car it has yet produced.
Jaguar is also set to unveil its new XF saloon in London on March 24, with the car being exhibited publicly for the first time at the forthcoming New York Auto Show.
Land Rover sold 24,185 vehicles in February, down by 1,002 on the previous year, while 4,504 Jaguars were sold, 796 less than in February 2014.
In a statement Jaguar Land Rover said: “Against the background of growing demand for the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, this expected change in sales is largely due to the run out of the Land Rover Freelander model and the company’s product launch plans, which will see the introduction of new models in the coming months.”
Vehicles singled-out for enjoying a successful sales month in February included the Range Rover and the Jaguar F-Type.
Andy Goss, Jaguar Land Rover group sales operations director, said: “The Range Rover achieved its best ever February performance, with sales of 4,310 vehicles.
“This was also the case for the Jaguar F-Type, which retailed 795 vehicles in February.”
Mr Goss said the car-maker was also looking forward to a busy year ahead due to its new models.
He added: “With sales underway for the Discovery Sport and soon to begin for the Jaguar XE, we are excited to see the success of our ever-evolving product portfolio.”
The new models are part of continued investment by the resurgent manufacturer.
In January this year it announced plans to create 1,300 new jobs at its Solihull plant.
The new roles are to support further development of lightweight vehicle technologies and in particular the Jaguar F-Pace crossover, which, like the XE, will be produced in Solihull.
The production version of the C-X17 SUV concept, the F-Pace will go on sale in 2016 and represents Jaguar’s first foray into the fast-growing SUV/crossover market.
In the past five years Jaguar Land Rover has tripled its turnover, doubled its sales and doubled its workforce.
In 2014 the firm sold 462,678 vehicles, representing a nine per cent increase on the previous year.
Land Rover sales still account for the lion’s share of business - in 2014 381,108 Land Rover vehicles were sold compared to 81,570 Jaguars.
The company hopes to shift that balance over the years ahead following the launch of the XE, which will compete with the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the F-Pace.