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JLR gets new local chief

Top job: Michael Winkler will take over as JLR Australia managing director in November this year.

Former Porsche MD Michael Winkler takes top role at Jaguar Land Rover Australia

Jaguar logo29 Oct 2013

By TIM NICHOLSON

FORMER Porsche Cars Australia chief Michael Winkler has taken the reigns as the new managing director of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Australia, effective as of November 11 this year.

Until now, JLR Asia Pacific managing director David Blackhall has held the dual role of local chief while also overseeing the wider Asia Pacific region.

Under Mr Blackhall's stewardship, JLR Australia experienced growth of 38 per cent this financial year and is now the fastest growing out of the company's six global regions. Mr Winkler will report directly to Mr Blackhall.

Mr Blackhall said he welcomed Mr Winkler and hoped his experience will further boost the iconic brands in Australia.

“Jaguar Land Rover Australia is a strong and healthy company and is well positioned strategically,” he said. “We were delighted that we were able to secure Michael to lead the JLR Australia team into the next dynamic phase of sales growth and profitability.”

Mr Winkler oversaw local operations for German sportscar-maker Porsche from 1995 until earlier this year. GoAuto has previously reported that Mr Winkler declined a senior Porsche Asia Pacific management position in Singapore for personal reasons.

This followed the announcement that former executive vice-president and chief operating officer at Porsche Cars North America Michael Bartsch would take over as local chief in May. Mr Bartsch has since left Porsche to take up the role of vice president of Infiniti for the Americas region.

Prior to becoming the local Porsche boss in 1995, Mr Winkler held the role within the German company of regional manager North America from 1991 to 1995, based in Germany.

Mr Winkler said it was the perfect time to join the local JLR team, with an extensive model expansion for both Jaguar and Land Rover brands kicking into top gear.

“It is exciting to join a world class company with an entrepreneurial spirit.

JLR is at the beginning of a massive product renaissance which has already started delivering new customers to the brands.

“It is a great honour to be asked to lead the Australian team at this important juncture in the company’s development,” he said.

Local Jaguar sales are up by 26 per cent for the first nine months of this year with overall sales of 778 cars compared to 618 in the same period last year.

The increase is thanks to a 25 per cent boost in sales for the mid-size XF and a smaller two per cent lift for the XJ limo.

Land Rover has also seen growth in the local market with 6372 vehicles sold so far this year, up five per cent from 6088 units last year. The Freelander is up by 44 per cent, while the Range Rover SUV has experienced a 54 per cent boost thanks to the introduction of the third-generation model in February this year.

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