Global MD Phil Popham is heartened by Land Rover’s second place in the 2006 RMI dealer attitude survey. “In terms of the quality of our dealers, we are as good as any car manufacturer,” says Popham. “But compared with other industries, the motor industry isn’t much of a benchmark.”
Popham is seeking best practice both inside and outside the industry. The US operation’s ‘Land Rover Way’ is being imported to get new dealers up to speed.
“The Land Rover Way has very prescriptive training. It’s about consistency: doing the same thing, the right way, every time.”
Popham cites external case studies as inspiration. He namechecks Disney for its ability to handle huge numbers of customers effortlessly, partly by empowering all staff to solve problems instantly to head off disenchantment. And he hails McDonald’s for its consistency across franchises.
“At Land Rover, we have to ask: do we have enough dealers? Can they handle the sales they get? Have their facilities got the right capability? Are they delivering consistently? That’s where the process comes in – that’s the Land Rover Way,” says Popham.
Land Rover has enjoyed six years of record UK sales. The Sport is a smash hit and the line-up will soon be bolstered by the stunning new 3.6-litre V8 diesel engine.
Factor in this winter’s new Freelander – which sources say is as refined, well-built and customer-focused as the company’s flagship – and Land Rover looks set for two more record years in 2006 and 2007. No wonder its dealers count themselves among the happiest in the industry – and are confident profits will continue to head in the right direction.