"That's the discussion I have daily with the board. They say, 'We should do that going forward.' I say, 'No, don't get too excited about this. The minute the floodgates open with our competitors, the American psyche will still be: 'I want this now.' "
Jaguar Land Rover's hottest sellers are the usual suspects: Range Rover and Defender large SUVs. Land Rover says it has sold more than 16,000 Defenders in the U.S. since the vehicle launched last summer. Volume for the Range Rover, in its last model year before a new generation is launched in 2022, is up slightly, by 62 sales to 4,244 in the first quarter of this year compared with the same quarter in 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic set in.
Even though all Jaguar models, except the XF midsize sedan and F-Type sports car, have seen lower sales this year, incentive spending has declined, too. In April, Jaguar spiffs were down 33 percent from April 2020 to an average of $6,530, according to Motor Intelligence. Land Rover's spend fell 20 percent to $4,435.
"It's been fantastic for profitability. Our retailers are enjoying record profits. Many of them are at historic all-time record profits," said Eberhardt. "The calls I get today are from retailers begging for cars. That's not healthy, and we shouldn't be in that position. But going back to where we were before is also not healthy."