“We have massive retail strength but we are not strong in fleet: we been on and off in it.”
That admission by Jaguar Land Rover UK managing director Jeremy Hicks paves the way for a complete overhaul of the company’s fleet strategy or, as Hicks puts it: “We will have a proper fleet strategy that has a life to it.”
Devising the strategy and tactics to achieve Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) growth aspirations in fleet falls to head of corporate sales Jon Wackett. He has a newly created fleet team which presents a joint JLR front to leasing companies but which splits into the two brands when talking to fleets and drivers.
The move is in response to leasing companies’ preference for “one conversation, not two”, according to Hicks, which avoids duplication.
It’s also the first time all elements of fleet, from contract hire to local sales, sit in the same operation; previously the structure was highly fragmented.
“We will focus on sensible areas in fleet,” Hicks said. “People want a say in the car they have if they are paying BIK and we have cars that will appeal to them. The fleet market is ready for us.”
The corporate plan is expected to be place by April 2013. It will include an aftersales element, likely to include service plans for new and used, currently in early development by new aftersales director Andrew West.
He is talking to leasing customers about how Land Rover can retain greater proportion of service and maintenance business.
“Aftersales goes hand-in-hand with selling cars in fleet,” said Hicks.
The big potential for fleet growth comes from the XF and XF Sportbrake for Jaguar and the Evoke for Land Rover.
Land Rover already has a strong presence in the job need sector thanks to its Defender and Discovery models which are favourites with emergency services and utilities fleets.
It’s the user-chooser sector where the company needs to build up its understanding. Part of the strategy is to create a retail network of fleet specialists, dealers who will invest in people and standards.
The selection process is underway for Land Rover after substantial interest from the network; it will be replicated for Jaguar next. In the interim period, Jaguar dealers have been given corporate packs that help them to understand corporate needs, covering topics such as BIK and capital allowance.
JLR is also putting great emphasis on technical engineering, including driver connectivity.
“Telematics offers significant opportunities to connect cars to one another and use that to reduce traffic congestion, as well as connecting people to the car,” said Hicks.
“We want to be seen as an innovator in technology – engine, driver, materials, construction and media interfaces.”