Jaguar Land Rover posts record sales for March

British luxury car brand Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India's Tata Motors, Wednesday said global sales in March climbed 16 percent from a year earlier to hit a record level, boosted by Chinese demand.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) reported sales in March rose to 53,772 units internationally, with sales for the January to March quarter also at a record high of 115,504 units.

JLR sales in China for March rose 22 percent to 8,487 vehicles while in Britain they grew 14 percent to 17,784 units, the statement said.

"Jaguar Land Rover has globally delivered its strongest ever monthly and quarterly performance," said Phil Popham, JLR group sales operations director.

Both Jaguar and Land Rover have introduced new models and engines in recent months.

Sales of the cars have been key growth drivers for the India's Tata Motors, part of the giant tea-to-steel Tata conglomerate, in recent quarters.

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 carmaker into a global player.

But Indian domestic car sales have been slowing due to high borrowing costs, costly fuel and rises in prices due to increases in raw material costs.

India's once red-hot car market shrank for the first time in a decade in the last financial year, data showed Wednesday.

Domestic passenger car sales, seen as a pointer to overall economic health, fell by 6.7 percent in the year to March 2013 from a year earlier to 1.89 million units, said the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).