Jeremy Hicks can’t stop grinning.
A little over a year into his role as managing director of Jaguar Land Rover UK, he is seeing sales boom for both brands and is infectiously enthusiastic about his task of transforming the dealer network, “I was brought into merge two dealer networks into a single entity.”
But that doesn’t mean you will be seeing Jaguars and Land Rovers bumper to bumper in the same showroom, “We will keep separate showrooms but grow their volume with more new product, better used offering and increased aftersales.”
The dealers, too, are more confident having had Jaguar’s and Land Rover’s future plans and growth for the next five years mapped out to them, “ The number of dealers won’t grow, but their facilities will and we’re looking at new corporate identities and show room displays, especially for used cars.”
In future JLR will approve all dealer principles, says Hicks, following what he called a “chemistry chat” to ensure they have bought into the new business ethos.
“We want Jaguar to be a true alternative to the German luxury brands and there’s plenty of scope to do that,” he says, citing the new F-Type as the car that will redefine Jaguar as a cool brand. However, the key product that will take on his former company, Audi, along with BMW and Mercedes-Benz will be a Jaguar smaller than the current XF. Although more details of what and when were, frustratingly, not forthcoming.
“There’s a real ‘can-do’ atmosphere in both brands; people like designers Gerry McGovern at Land Rover and Jaguar’s, Ian Callum care desperately about their jobs and for me, whilst it’s a privilege to work for JLR, it also carries a massive burden of responsibility.”