JAGUAR LAND ROVER
South Africa Magazine chats with Jaguar Land Rover South Africa’s operations director Brian Hastie and managing director Kevin Flynn who tell us more about some exciting opportunities at the company in this Q&A.
By Ian Armitage
outh Africa’s auto industry continues to grow boosted by low interest rates, improved vehicle affordability, new high technology model introductions, easier access for consumers to vehicle finance and pent-up demand. It is fair to say then that times are reasonably good for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Land Rover is a brand loved by South African consumers, drawn in by its style and reputation. Sales are up -- it is one of the most profitable car companies in SA -- and the company is expanding its staff complement, eager to grow the business off the back of several successful vehicle launches. Operations Director Brian Hastie (BH) and Managing Director Kevin Flynn (KF) tell us more.
How is the business performing? BH: 2011 was a successful year for Jaguar Land Rover South Africa. It was aided by improving market conditions and consumer confidence and supported by marketing some of the best products available in our respective segments. We have focused on customer experience to support the premium Land Rover, Range Rover and Jaguar products that we sell. The South African premium market is a demanding one where luxury is evolving into more than just leather and quality finishes, but the time enjoyed in our brands’ environments. Luxury in an increasingly demanding world is having time to relax – and we have been able to
Jaguar Land Rover focus manufacturing
offer that to our customers, whether enjoyed behind the wheel of any of our products or in our dealerships. Last year you launched the all-new Range Rover Evoque. How has that been received? BH: Range Rover Evoque has been an unprecedented success. The South African market has been no exception to the product’s global acclaim. Demand remains strong long after launch and we are unable to supply the demand, with customers content to wait just a little for the satisfaction of owning the Evoque. The broader media has shared this sentiment and it is reassuring to appreciate their realisation that more than just a styling statement, the Range Rover Evoque remains a capable Land Rover. So what’s next? BH: Jaguar Land Rover is nearing the completion of a major revamp to our head office necessitated by literally doubling our staff complement. This has been borne out of the necessity to grow to meet current market demands, but also to prepare ourselves for the future growth of our brands into even more market segments going forward and we are capitalising on our good fortunes now to prepare for the future.
That’s great. How would you sum up the current state of the industry then? BH: The South African new vehicle market is seeing strong recovery, admittedly from a low base. But with growth of almost 20 percent, we are confident that the market is returning to realistic and sustainable levels. Are there any challenges though? BH: There are. JLR’s biggest challenge in the SA market is a macroeconomic one in that emerging from the recession SA consumers are “buying-down” into lower vehicle segments than they have traditionally been used to. Volume manufacturers are experiencing good growth. And while the premium market in SA is unusually strong with a bigger share of the overall market than one might expect, this trend is putting pressure on niche premium segment sales. This knocks-on to all our products from Land Rover, Range Rover and Jaguar, forcing us to challenge ourselves to become more innovative in the way we market, and by maintaining our levels of service and customer experience in order to retain the market we’ve already captured.
Are you excited for the future? BH: Yes. We have made major human capital investment this year by expanding our head-office structures to support our dealer network and growing market demand. This extends to customer experience, marketing, sales, operations and technical, but importantly training as well. Our Jaguar Land Rover Academy is just one sign of our investment in skills to support all our initiatives. Equally, an activity like the Land Rover Experience, our off-road driving skills programme, is unique in the SA market to have internationally accredited driver trainers. Kevin, over to you. Obviously plans are afoot to increase staff numbers. Is it a challenge finding the right people? And what approach do you take to training? KF: Jaguar Land Rover South Africa takes training particularly seriously. Our people are our biggest asset and our key differentiator in the premium car market is how we service our customers. All the premium car players in the market make fantastic products – but it is how our customers engage with our brands that will keep them loyal or attract and convert them to our brands. After all, we are www.southafricamag.com
Jaguar Landrover focus manufacturing
Motorvia Motorvia’s long professional relationship with Land Rover stems from the mid 80’s as a proud logistics and warehousing provider. Motorvia is contracted to various OEM’s and vehicle manufacturers for the storage and distribution of their vehicles throughout Southern Africa totalling approximately 170,000 domestic units annually. As the leading automobile transporter in South Africa, Motorvia sets the trend by using state of the art vehicle carriers and warehousing facilities.
selling luxury cars that bring with them a certain level of expectation from the evolving luxury car buyer. We have our own Training Academy at our head office in Pretoria that upskills technical, sales and management staff across all sectors of our business, be they at head office or in our dealer network. Similar thinking globally drives JLR and many of our staff engages with the UK training facilities to understand our sophisticated and innovative products. An example of our approach to training is evidenced by the Land Rover Experience – our off-road driving instructors are the only in South Africa who are internationally accredited. We are equally obsessed with transferring these expertise not only to our Land Rover owners, but all 4x4 motorists as witnessed by our current SUV training campaign. Are you a force to be reckoned with in the SA motor industry? KF: Yes we are. But few actually realise it. By virtue of our volumes of premium cars at a 4
price point, we are one of the most profitable motor companies in the country, rather than the perception that we are merely a distributor of imported niche products. We are blessed with some of the greatest products in their respective market segments currently available. And the increasing demand for our vehicles means we have had to grow with that market: our head office operations are literally doubling in size and capacity as we build a team of passionate Jaguar and Land Rover enthusiasts that live and breathe our brands every day. Brian talked a lot about the customer experience. Would you care to elaborate? KF: We have a particular focus on customer experience and a department dedicated to ensuring their satisfaction with our products, our dealers and every interaction they experience with their vehicles. We are small enough to be able to engage with customers almost individually, supported by marketing that is as innovative as our brands.
Land Rover is an enabling brand – it’s not just a luxury SUV: Land Rovers allow a certain lifestyle; they enable their owners to explore the great outdoors, to experience destinations. Jaguar is a brilliant niche in the premium sedan and sports car segments, offering beautiful styling and innovative technology that appeals to a growing number of discerning buyers intent on distinguishing themselves from the standard premium set. Add to that the traditional appeal of two iconic British brands and the fact that they complement each other so well in terms of lifestyle and ownership lifecycles, and a Jaguar or Land Rover can accommodate every luxury vehicle buyer demands. Digital marketing channels allow us incredible flexibility and real-time learning about customer demands and perceptions and we leverage those masterfully and are able to evolve and change with them. Carefully selected niche publications provide
traditional awareness support and outdoor executions are driven by a fantastic source of global media and marketing assets. Our best results come from getting potential customers into our vehicles – once they experience them, they are more easily convinced of our proposition. Existing customers are our best ambassadors. Like Brian, are you excited for the future? KF: I am. Our head office capacity is literally doubling, focusing on systems and processes to improve efficiencies and cope with the increasing demand for our products. Our focus will extend to our dealer capacity and representation while remaining focused on sustaining viable dealer environments that can provide impeccable service to our customers. To learn more about JLR and to view its extensive range of world-class motor vehicles visit www.landrover.co.za and www.jaguar.co.za END www.southafricamag.com
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