India's top vehicle maker Tata Motors (IW 1000/186) said on Wednesday its quarterly net profit rose 10.5% year-on-year because of a robust performance by its British brands Jaguar and Land Rover.
The auto giant reported a consolidated net profit of 20.75 billion rupees (US$383 million) in the second financial quarter which ended September, up from 18.77 billion rupees a year earlier.
The company, part of the salt-to-steel Tata conglomerate, undershot analysts' expectations of profit of around 25 billion rupees.
Revenues for the quarter rose 20 % to 434 billion rupees thanks to increasing demand for the British brands.
Tata Motors, which also makes utility vehicles and the low-cost Nano car, relies on Jaguar and Land Rover for the bulk of its profits. It said the overall business environment remained "subdued" in India.
India, which has been one of the world's fastest-growing car markets in recent years, has been suffering a slowdown in demand as some buyers defer purchases due to expensive auto loans and high fuel costs.
"The outlook remains weak for passenger cars but we hope to have regular product refreshes to boost demand," Tata Motors's chief financial officer C. Ramakrishnan said.
The much-awaited diesel version of the Nano was likely to be launched only after June next year, the firm said.
Net revenue for the Jaguar and Land Rover brands rose 13% to 3.28 billion pounds (us$5.24 billion) and net profit jumped 77% to 305 million pounds ($487 million) from a year earlier.
Tata Motors bought Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor in 2008 for $2.3 billion as part of plans to expand its reach beyond Asia.
The deal vaulted Tata Motors from a commercial vehicle and small-car maker into a global player with luxury brands in its range of offerings.
Many new models are being launched in the country, with the Diwali festival next week seen as an auspicious time for big-ticket purchases.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012