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Jaguar Land Rover sales will rise in 2015 despite China drop: CEO

[FRANKFURT] Luxury carmarker Jaguar Land Rover expects sales this year to exceed those in 2014, with Britain, Europe and the United States compensating for a sharp decline in the Chinese market, its chief executive said.

Jaguar Land Rover sales are down 1 per cent so far this year due to a 29 per cent fall in China, the world's largest car market, where an economic slowdown, stock market slump and currency devaluation have hit demand for cars.

But CEO Ralf Speth said that sales will rise this year compared to the 462,678 models the firm sold in 2014, with other regions able to compensate for the fall.

"Other markets can neutralise... (such as) the UK, Europe and the US," he told journalists at the Frankfurt Motor Show. "We expect that sales are definitely bigger in 2015 than 2014...but it would be too early to give you the exact number."

China was Jaguar Land Rover's fastest growing market last year, with sales up 28 per cent, but volumes have fallen this yea, driving global sales so far this year down 1 per cent to 301,778 cars.

Mr Speth said that Jaguar Land Rover would benefit from ramping up production in the country but that the "new normal" of slower growth in the Chinese market had come faster than anyone had predicted.

"The time of the two-digit growth is over. We will see a normalised figure of, let's say, in between 4 and 7 per cent, that depends on who is calculating it," he said.

On Monday, Jaguar launched its first crossover sports utility vehicle, the latest part of a major expansion of its model range and volumes as it enters an area that has become increasingly popular among women and families.