Outgoing Porsche Cars Australia boss Michael Winkler has been appointed Jaguar Land Rover Australia managing director, effective November 11.
The appointment comes as David Blackhall relinquishes his position as boss of the Australian arm of Jaguar Land Rover to concentrate on the role he also held as managing director of the Asia Pacific region.
Blackhall said Jaguar Land Rover wants to expand in “growth markets” within the Asia Pacific region, and he has some ideas of how to do that. Without going into detail, Blackhall spoke of the need to assemble cars in many of the regions using local suppliers to sidestep hefty import duties as a priority.
He added that the German brands already do this well, and that while Jaguar Land Rover is already successful in some ASEAN markets, localisation programs would enable huge price reductions needed to capture the emerging middle class. The biggest growth markets Blackhall named include Korea and Malaysia.
Blackhall said he didn’t poach Winkler, but rather “it’s really one of those serendipity moments.”
“I knew Michael really well as a colleague, he and I are on the board at the FCAI [Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries], chatting with him [he said] ‘oh, I’m being reassigned [at Porsche] but I don’t really want to go where they’re sending me’.”
“I said ‘what are you going to do?’. He said ‘I think I’ll quit’. I said ‘Got any plans? Let’s have a cup of coffee.
“It’s a kind of happy coincidence.”
Winkler said he was excited and honoured to be asked to lead the Australian JLR team at this point in the company’s development.
“JLR is at the beginning of a massive product renaissance which has already started delivering new customers to the brands,” Winkler said.