Jaguar, in the midst of a hyper-sized expansion and overhaul of its model range, is on the precipice of significant volume growth over the next few years.
It’s not simply enough, says the company, to widen its range of offerings on the back of shared architectures, and to return the focus to on-road dynamism above everything else. It also has to better earn its keep within the wider Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) family.
Right now, the Jaguar side of JLR only makes up 10 per cent of the group’s global sales, according to JLR Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner. The mission? Take this ratio to about 30 per cent by 2020.
That means stealing sales from the Germans and beyond, and re-kindling the Jaguar flame amongst the younger buyers it alienated under the stewardship of Ford.
Much of the JLR Group’s initial renaissance under Indian owner Tata — understood to be very hands-off with the British-based organisation — came off the back of investment into the SUV-focused Land Rover/Range Rover marques.
But now it’s Jaguar’s turn. The updated F-Type and all-new XE have just launched, the XF is in production and due in Australia at year’s end — ditto the updated XJ range-topper — and things go into overdrive with the F-Pace crossover SUV due to premiere next month in Frankfurt and around mid-2016 in Australia.
From there, leveraging common architecture like the big German luxury brands do, a further expansion is mooted. A larger ‘J-Pace’ crossover with Range Rover tech? A small hatch rival for the Audi A3? An XE coupe and wagon? Who knows, perhaps all of the above.
“We need to be much better, and will be much better as we have modular platforms and drivetrains, when we can then say ‘right, instead of having different platforms scattered around the group, by having some uniformity we can start behaving like some of our competitors and saying we can actually do this, this, this and this’ with these sorts of vehicles,” Wiesner said.
The mission to expand Jaguar in Australia is similar, he added, referring to a market where the company can capitalise on a market increasingly seeking luxury cars (each of the big Germans, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, have been growing in double-digits).
There are a few caveats, said Wiesner. The most obvious? “We must be a dynamic driver’s car, that’s the whole point”.
But it goes beyond this. Key missions include an expansion of the Jaguar Australia dealer network from 23 at present to 40 by the end of next year, most of which will be regional. All of these will go to current Land Rover sites that are now being urged to take on both franchises.
Vehicles such as the F-Pace will move people to cross-shop between Land Rover and Jaguar, though JLR gets the sale either way. The company wants people to see the whole group as one entity, ultimately.
“I’d rather they dive into an F-Pace from a Discovery Sport than wanting to try a Macan,” Wiesner said, citing one example. “In that case we win, that’s exactly as we should be thinking in terms of retention.”
The other big driver of growth beyond the range and network expansion will be a bigger focus on aftersales care. The company is about to roll out a fixed-price servicing plan on the XE that will limit five years of servicing to a total of $1100 to $1350, depending on engine, which is seriously sharp.
It will also push its in-house financial services arm, and introduce a guaranteed future value program (albeit, with 20,000km a year travel limits) to encourage people to sell their cars back to Jaguar and trade into something else into the group. The two-fold effect will be improved resale values and a cheaper stream of product to hook lower-budget buyers.
These programs will roll out soon across the entire JLR range, progressively. The final piece in the puzzle will be an imminent genuine used car program.
“If you’re paying $1000 a month for an XE, for example, and you’ve got a service contract that’s only costing you $1100 per five years, which is also financeable, then you know it’s only going to cost x per annum, and all I do is tip fuel in it.. as long as I keep it under the kilometre parameters, all I have to do is hand it back and make sure I look after it,” Wiesner said.
“… We need to better understand we’re selling not just a car, but an experience,” he added.
“You can buy transport for $20,000, so why go and spend $60,000, $200,000, $300,000 on something? They’re all emotive reasons, they're buying an experience, not just transport.”
Later, Wiesner added: “We need to make sure the experience is spot on, because more than likely lots have been in competitive German products and they’ve been treated pretty well over past 10 years, so we have to make huge strides to make sure we’re offering an experience that is up there.”