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LR finance package to counter direct lenders

Land Rover Financial Services is to focus on former company car drivers as it pushes its Freedom PCP package. The company believes the changes in taxation offer dealers a great opportunity to increase finance penetration as more customers seek advice on how to finance their next vehicle. Robert Aitken, Land Rover Financial Services sales manager, said dealers were under pressure from direct lenders and needed to change their approach to finance sales. “More and more people are opting out of company cars and becoming true user-choosers,” he said. “Those people will come into dealerships as retail customers but looking for company car style benefits. “Land Rover is a strong aspirational brand with traditionally good residual values. Our focus is to get those customers into our Freedom PCP package which makes the product affordable.” Land Rover is training its dealers on the detail of the new benefit-in-kind taxation and has developed a personal tax calculator which runs alongside the finance quote system. Bolt-on packages for insurance and maintenance are also available to offer former company car drivers a worry-free, fixed-price solution. Developing the new 'cash-for-cars' strategy has been the first priority for Mr Aitken, who took over at LR Financial Services when it became a division of Ford Credit at the end of January. Previously it was still within the BMW Finance stable. Now Land Rover, Volvo and Jaguar finance business is written through Primus, the Ford Credit all-makes brand. Another early priority was to create a field sales force and a marketing department dedicated to the Land Rover brand. Under BMW the Rover and Land Rover field force had been merged. New recruits are put through the 'Dipped in Green' induction programme run at the Land Rover proving ground at Eastnor Castle, near Malvern, West Midlands. Around 50% of Land Rover volume is financed through the Freedom package with even stronger penetration on Freelander and Discovery. The up-market Range Rover tends to be bought with cash or on contract hire. The company has developed its own version of a 50/50 plan for Range Rover, bearing in mind the new model is due for launch in just over a year. The Advanced Purchase Plan allows customers to put down half the cost of a current model now and then trade that in as deposit on the forthcoming car in 18 months time.

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