Jaguar Land Rover was forced to abort its global press launch of the new Defender, originally scheduled for the end of March, due to the coronavirus lockdown, but those vehicles have not been sitting idle.
The company took the decision to loan the fleet to the British Red Cross to support them in their worldwide charity work. It means Red Cross workers become some of the first people outside of Jaguar Land Rover to drive the new £40,000 car, ahead of the first deliveries to customers this summer.
The decision is just one of the ways in which Jaguar Land Rover is adapting to the Covid-19 crisis, according to general manager, fleet and business Andrew Jago (pictured above).
“More than half of our retailer network remains open for servicing and maintenance, especially for essential workers, but some are also open for non-essential,” he said.
“Our roadside assistance service and customer service call centre are also open, and we are employing our demonstrator fleet to support essential services fleets. We are also continuing to delivery cars to essential workers, for example iPace deals with the NHS.”
Jago’s fleet and business teams are now working from home but continue to maintain relationships with customers – fleets and leasing companies – remotely using video conferencing software.
“My view is that when the restrictions are lifted, we will still do face-to-face meetings, but more people will do video conferencing and that will reduce mileage,” he says. “Remote meetings will become more accepted.”
Jaguar Land Rover is planning a variety of scenarios as part of its coronavirus exit strategy, but its main priority is to re-start deliveries as quickly as possible. It continues to take orders, with strong demand for the iPace due to the new BIK rates introduced this month.
“We are working with our contract hire and leasing partners to continue quoting and also to facilitate the placing of orders,” Jago. “When production resumes, we can match our production to those orders. Yes, it’s slowed down dramatically, but there is still activity in the market.”