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Dealers on board for Jaguar expansion

Ready to pounce: The new Jaguar XE has been given a positive reception from Australia’s network of Jaguar dealers, according to the JLR Australia chief Matthew Wiesner.

XE and aggressively priced servicing program gets thumbs up from JLR dealers

31 Aug 2015

JAGUAR Land Rover (JLR) is investing heavily in training and development for its dealer network in Australia to ensure it can manage the company’s growth plans.

There are currently 23 Jaguar dealers across Australia, but the plan is to expand this to 40 by the end of 2016, with the majority to be Jaguar Land Rover sites, combining both British brands rather than specialising solely in Jaguar models.

As GoAuto has reported, the expansion will see the Jaguar brand return to a number of regional centres where it has not had a presence for decades.

The latest phase of the company’s growth strategy for Australia is the launch of the mid-size XE sedan, the first of several all-new models due in the coming years.

Speaking with GoAuto at the XE launch in Queensland last week, JLR Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner said the dealers were excited about not only the XE, but the car-maker’s strategy to build and maintain the business.

“They (the dealers) love the car,” he said. “From a business perspective they are clear on what we are doing and why. We want to make sure we improve their behaviours and understanding in and around the whole retention space.

“It is important for us to build upon the strong customer base from a group perspective.” Mr Wiesner said he was keen to ensure customers that have traditionally purchased a Land Rover or Range Rover are also looking at Jaguar models, adding that the spread of passenger cars and SUVs between brands was no different to some of its German competitors.

“I want to see more multi-car garages. There’s plenty of Land Rover and Range Rovers out there but I want to see more Range Rover or Land Rover and Jaguar owners out there and we can do that by having more relevant product,” he said.

“The dealer group understands effectively we have passenger cars and SUVs and some are called Land Rovers, some are Range Rovers and some Jaguar. It’s no different to BMW or Audi.

“There is a bit more confidence coming into the network, and also we have got a lot of investment coming in over the next couple of years and you will see the network transform into something different.”

When asked if he was happy with the quality and service levels of existing dealers, Mr Wiesner said the group was investing heavily in resources for both the network and the company as a whole.

“JLR Australia is investing a lot into training development and behavioural programs to help the network develop and their people develop. We have been doing a lot of recruiting recently across the whole business.” Mr Wiesner said there were “glaring gaps” in the corporate structure that the company will eventually fill to help the dealer network focus on improving their operations and staffing.

“But it’s going to be a lot of training to make sure how we manage our customers from here on is very different to where we were five years ago,” he said.

In recent months JLR Australia has gone on a hiring spree, with new appointments announced including a new network director, product and planning manager, and profit planning manager, all following Mr Wiesner’s appointment as managing director in March.

With the launch of the XE, Jaguar is fighting hard to remove any lingering negativity around build quality and cost of service by giving customers a more attractive sales and aftersales experience than they have had in the past.

JLR has introduced a five-year servicing plan priced between $1100 and $1350, depending on the variant, which is fully financeable and transferable, while it will also offer guaranteed future value in a 38- or 48-month plan through JLR’s financial services arm. JLR Australia general manager communications and public relations Tim Krieger said the dealers were supportive of the new servicing program and added that Mr Wiesner consulted widely before the plan was announced.

“There was an understanding that we needed to do that,” he said, referring to the plan. “We needed to make a strong statement with this car with what our intentions are and where we wanted to take the brand.

“To Matthew’s (Wiesner) credit he does consult widely with dealers and gets their buy-in and isn’t an MD that is dictatorial. He will make sure the dealers are on board and comfortable, obviously with us in the driver’s seat, but takes the dealers with us.”

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