Profits at India’s Tata Motors surge on pent-up demand

MUMBAI (AFP) – Profits at India’s Tata Motors jumped 67 per cent during the last quarter of 2020, the company said on Friday, benefitting from pent-up demand that saw consumers flock to buy cars.

The Mumbai-headquartered firm, which owns British luxury brand Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), saw consolidated net profit climb to INR29.06 billion (USD398.91 million) during the October-December quarter from INR17.38 billion a year earlier.

The results are a strong comeback for the automobile giant, which reported losses for three consecutive quarters as the pandemic hammered demand in domestic and international markets.

“Due to a strong festive season and a clear preference for personal mobility, the (passenger vehicle) business posted its highest sales in last 33 quarters,” chief executive Guenter Butschek said in a statement.

JLR sales were up 19.1 per cent year on year in China, but lower globally as uncertainty over the pandemic and Britain’s post-Brexit future continues to weigh on demand.

Tata Motors’ revenues rose 5.5 per cent to INR756.54 billion, the firm said.

Indian carmakers were struggling with low demand due to an economic slowdown and lack of liquidity through 2019, before the virus and a months-long lockdown dealt a further blow to Asia’s third-largest economy.

But India’s economic prospects are now looking up, with both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Indian government predicting double-digit growth in the 2021-22 financial year.