Results from the trial will be analysed at the end of this month prior to a nationwide launch of the programme to coincide with the public reveal of the car at the British International Motor Show from October 21 to November 1. Each of the Coventry company's 92-strong UK network is expected to be ready for corporate sales well before the Mercedes-Benz E-class and BMW 5-series rivals reach the showrooms in spring.
Corporate operations chief Christine Downton said: 'Jaguar has always sold into the corporate market. Officially, 75% of our cars are classed as company purchases, but I'd say that 95% of our registrations are achieved through business of some form. We have to develop a different approach for S-type - while maintaining our relationship with company chairmen, we now also have to start talking to fleet managers.'
She said a cross-section of dealers in Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, Solihull, Amersham, Reading, Weybridge, Thames Ditton and Chichester had been piloting the Culture of the Cat programme for several weeks. Downton, a former marketing and planning executive who has spent three years working on the S-type launch strategy, believes dealers hold the key to the new business Jaguar is hoping will double its size over the next two years.