Hicks plans to put JLR higher on business drivers shopping lists

Hicks plans to put JLR higher on business drivers shopping lists

07/03/2012 in News, All News, Car Manufacturer News

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Four months into his new job as UK managing director of Jaguar Land Rover, Jeremy Hicks - the former head of Audi in the UK - must be experiencing feelings of deja vu.

He has a premium brand which he wants to see grow, with sporty R performance models and a range of SUVs. This is Audi all over again.

The task of engineering that growth was made a little easier at the Geneva Motor Show with the introduction of the XF Sportbrake, a rival for the likes of the BMW 5 Series touring and Audi A6 Avant, and the Range Rover Evoque Convertible concept.

The Sportbrake will go into production later this year but an addition to the highly successful Evoque range is dependent on reaction, although the Convertible concept must rekindle memories of Hicks's time at Audi - the Q5 was initially shown as a drop-top design study before becoming an estate for production.

"The Sportbrake opens up 20% more of the market in its segment for us," said Hicks.

"The Evoque Convertible is at this stage purely to gauge reaction, but the UK has a very strong convertible market, so it does open up possibilities for us."

More progress will be possible when, rather than if, JLR opts to go into the compact premium segment, however.

"If we are going to grow we can't rely on the existing segments," he said. 'That size of car (Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class) gives is a great opportunity, and we are actively looking at it. It can open big doors for us.

"If you look at the four-cylinder diesel engines we have in the XF, they have doubled our market opportunities and made us much stronger in the corporate sales segment," Hicks went on.

"Now we know we need to be much more active in contract hire and leasing."

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The Jaguar brand will be a very different beast in 2015 as it returns to the volume market with the arrival of the XE.

The initial reception has been overwhelmingly positive and if desire is converted into orders, then this could rapidly propel Jaguar towards the market share achieved by its German rivals, who all comfortably sell in excess of 100,000 units a year, close to 10 times Jaguar's current annual registrations.

The pace of change will continue through to 2016, when the first Jaguar SUV arrives.

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Land Rover

Land Rover's latest move into the mainstream comes this year with the launch of the Discovery Sport, with prices expected to start from less then £30,000.

This model will play a key role in driving renewed growth, which slowed to 2.8% last year after sales growth of nearly 50% since 2011, thanks mainly to the Range Rover Evoque, the brand's fastest selling model ever.

Future model growth will be based around three key pillars of Range Rover, Discovery and Defender, with each family featuring a unique characteristic.

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Comments (1)

Rob Chisholm - 124 weeks ago

It is no surprise or co-incidence then that Landrover are now beginning to starve the UK market of cars - Mr.Hicks clearly learnt his lessons well while at Audi in this regard.

What else can explain why the UK LR dealer network have seen their allocations slashed. Orders placed in good faith and already in the pipeline have been put back by over two months. So a vehicle ordered in August 2012, expected for delivery in November 2012, will now not be made available until February 2013.

And that Mr.Joe Public (UK) is how this manufacturer treats you ... with disdain and contempt.

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