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New dealers, new shopfronts for Jaguar Land Rover

One stop shop: Existing Land Rover dealers will be asked to take on Jaguar cars – but not all will agree to it.

A push back into regional areas and full range adoption planned for all JLR dealers

Jaguar logo10 Apr 2015

By TIM ROBSON

JAGUAR Land Rover Australia is rolling out an aggressive expansion plan that will see it return to regional centres that previous custodians of the brands abandoned a decade ago.

Existing dealers will also be required to adopt product lines not already carried and transform their dealerships, as the brand’s prolific product revolution continues.

Speaking with GoAuto at the Land Rover Discovery Sport launch this week, JLR Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner said the iconic British brands would be united under the new dealership plan.

“Around the time we launch F-Pace, we want to have the majority of our network as Jaguar and Land Rover,” he said. “We are Jaguar Land Rover, that’s what we are, that’s what we do.

“As for cars and SUVS, we don't do one or the other. Our competitors don't do one or the other, so were not going to do one or the other.”

A new dealer in Berwick in Melbourne's outer south-east, to be run by the HFH Group, will open in May, while two new dealers have been appointed in Queensland – one in Rockhampton and one in south Brisbane under the James Frizell Group banner. This will bring the total to 44 nationwide.

“From a metropolitan point of view, we’re in reasonable shape,” said Mr Wiesner. “There’s another couple of holes that we’ll look at over the next couple of years, but it’s really the major regional markets where we’ve lacked a presence.”

Mr Wiesner pointed out that the brands had a wider presence across the country in the 1990s, until large-scale restructuring under Ford's Premier Automotive Group umbrella saw the closure of many smaller franchises.

“If you look at places like Rockhampton for one, Bendigo, Shepparton, Bunbury… These are markets where we actually were ten to fifteen years ago, before the PAG days, and before a significant restructure of the network,” he said.

“Now being Jaguar Land Rover, we’ve got more to offer, because we’ve got a broadening range of passenger cars along with a broadening range of SUVs. It becomes a pretty compelling package in some of those provincial cities.”

He noted that the task of transforming the company’s dealer network would not necessarily be a straightforward exercise.

“There are a number of dealers who have been operational with us for a long time, and the business is changing. We will see a significant change at how we look from the road as such,” he said. “So with all of that investment, we've got to make sure that we have everything right structurally to make sure the dealers could still get a strong return on those investments that they are making.

“But there's a couple of the traditional Land Rover guys who have been out there for a long time who may struggle to get their head around that.”

With all three arms of the brand currently planning to add several models over the next five years, Mr Wiesner is confident that JLR Australia can cope with the expansion.

“We are currently looking to make sure we are structured and have positioned ourselves as a company with an eye on where we are going,” he said.

“We need to look at each part of our business and make sure it's right for the next five years. From the dealer point of view, we've got some really excellent dealers around the country. We have some obvious holes, especially in the key regional markets.”

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