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Jaguar goes back to basics

David Blackhall: "I think there is a challenge in getting the assets delivered to the right consumers in the right way".

New boss David Blackhall declares it's back to basics for Jaguar Australia

12 Mar 2004

NEW Jaguar Australia general manager David Blackhall has ordered a back to basics review of the way the prestige and luxury car-maker sells into the Australian market.

Mr Blackhall, an Australian who has worked for Ford in Dearborn for the past five years, initiated the review as one of his first actions after taking up the Jaguar job in February.

He arrives at Jaguar following a disappointing 2003 when sales fell 18 per cent despite the arrival of a new generation XJ. Long-time local boss Danny Rezek abruptly departed the company late in the year.

Since then, outgoing Premier Automotive Group Australia managing director Richard Snijders has been managing the business.

The slump has continued into 2004, with Jaguar recording 309 sales in the first two months of the year, compared to 412 in the corresponding period of 2003.

"I think there is a challenge in getting the assets – that is the brand equity, the products – delivered to the right consumers in the right way," said Mr Blackhall.

"So I am probably talking, at least initially, at looking at our marketing strategies, looking at the way we communicate with the media, looking at a range of actions we can take to really leverage what we already own.

"I am concerned that we make sure that we position our products and price our products so that the target consumer gets to understand that this represents value in the segment.

"I don’t know if we are there and I have asked my team to take a complete new look – what are the specs, what are the prices, who are we competitive against, why are we where we are and what is our brand in relation to their brand?"Mr Blackhall said the review was an objective he wanted achieved within 30 days, but he also admitted to 60 and 90-day objectives as well as goals set out over one, three and five years for the brand.

Asked where he would like Jaguar Australia to be in five years, he said: "I’ve got three things in mind. More consistently higher achieving volumes and profits for us, a highly focussed brand image would be number two and then I want to make sure we have got a very, very dedicated well organised, highly efficient dealer network."

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