The sharply contrasting financial fortunes of Jaguar and Land Rover have been exposed by accounts at Companies House.
They show in 2005, the last year for which accounts are available, Jaguar's UK business lost #533.7million. In the same year Land Rover, its sister company in Ford's Premier Automotive Group, reversed previous year losses to show a pretax profit of #57million.
Jaguar's 2005 figures, hit by a #186.7million write down of assets and separate from unpublished global accounts, represent a low in the luxury carmaker's fortunes, spokesman Don Hume said last night. They do not reflect the cost-cutting move to axe production at its historic Browns Lane site in Coventry in order to consolidate at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham.
But they do show the extent to which Ford has had to absorb mounting losses at Jaguar. The business has rarely shown a profit since it became
part of the US group's global automotive empire in 1989. Not only did it haemorrhage cash at the rate of more than #10million a week in 2005, it saw sales fall by some #33million to #1.53billion.
Ford, which has been steadfastly denying industry rumours that it is looking to ditch Jaguar, was forced to shore up the balance sheet by #1.2billion last year.
The 2005 accounts, which were filed more than three months late, included the statement: "The plan to return to long-term profitability remains on course."
They also show that the company, which has axed 1,100 jobs, cut the deficit on its pension fund to #298.2million from #354.9million in 2004.
Since then, however, Jaguar has revamped its business model in order to concentrate on making more money out of selling fewer, but higher margin, cars.
It marks a retreat from an unsuccessful attempt to move Jaguar into the volume end of the luxury car market with the so-called "Baby Jag", the Mondeo-based X-Type which is built at the former Ford Escort plant at Halewood on Merseyside.
The Big Cat's claws have also been blunted by its ageing medium and large car models and by its late entry into the executive diesel car market.
But with a success in the shape of the profitable new XK sports car and the prospect of a radically redesigned medium car to replace the S-Type on the stocks, Jaguar's fortunes are improving, Mr Hume insisted.
He also said that Land Rover's 2005 accounts showed that a previous year loss of #215million had been turned into a pretax profit of #57million.
"The 2004 loss reflected the investment in new models whereas the profit for 2005 was as a result of the introduction of those new models," he said.
Land Rover hit an all-time sales record in 2006 thanks to the arrival of the well-received Discovery 3 and the high performance Range Rover Sport. Sales are set for a further boost this year as the new Freelander 2, which has been designed for world markets, comes on stream.