The Game Changer
Looking forward to a promising year ahead, the man at the helm of Jaguar Land Rover MENA is upbeat about region despite formidable challenges
What Bruce Robertson risks reveals what he values. After all, the Managing Director for Jaguar Land Rover in the MENA Region has seen figures multiply, preferring to take the risk of certain decisions rather than opting for the horror of indecision. No wonder then that prior to joining the MENA team, Bruce, who was Executive Vice President – Sales & Service Operations for Jaguar Land Rover in China, transformed the business from an operation selling less than 20,000 vehicles a year with 34 dealers in 2010, to selling 103,000 vehicles with 220 dealers by 2014.
He is optimistic about turning the figures up in MENA and with two models launching in 2015 — Jaguar F-PACE and the Range Rover SVAutobiography — Bruce well knows that crucial decisions will be a game changer for the lukewarm MENA market vis-a-vis the ‘untapped and unlimited’ Chinese market.
Currently, sales were up 6 percent in the MENA region, driven by strong demand for the Range Rover Sport, the brand’s top selling model. For the coming year, Bruce is eyeing at growing their retailer network to 64 retailers across 18 MENA markets by 2018.
He is confident that with the range of new Jaguar Land Rovers to be introduced in the next couple of years through their retailer network paired with more competitive customer service, drive customer retention and profitability in the region will rise. “The branded Financial Services Programme and the Jaguar and Land Rover Approved Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Programmes are examples of initiatives which were launched across our MENA retailer network as part of our expansion plans,” he said.
Jaguar Land Rover MENA’s retail strategy has been to better understand regional customers and for that the company has constantly been involved in market research programmes. “This includes Brand Health studies, new product clinics for Jaguar and Land Rover, loyalty studies, New Car Buyers Surveys (NCBS) and market effectiveness across the region,” Bruce stated.
Commenting on a key aspiration of Jaguar Land Rover, Bruce emphasised that environmental responsibility has been a priority at Jaguar Land Rover. “We constantly strive for sustainability and performance on every level. Our research has led to a few firsts such as our intelligent stop/start technology offering fuel saving opportunities and our hybrid and electric solutions which led to the launch of the Range Rover Sport Hybrid – the world’s first hybrid luxury SUV,” he pointed out.
Dismissing any impact of the economic slowdown, he indicated that the demand for luxury cars have not shown any sign of decline. “The number of mega-projects in the pipeline is increasing along with the expected population growth, and as a manufacturer of premium luxury vehicles, we are well placed to capitalise on this in the years ahead,” he stressed.
Under Bruce’s leadership, the company has tweaked its dealership arrangements and is planning for a major expansion in the coming years. “We have increased on the number of dealerships and have grown to 40. By 2019, We should touch about 60,” he said.
With a comprehensive line-up for 2016 like Discovery Sport, Range Rover Sport SVR, Jaguar F-PACE, Jaguar XF and the New Jaguar XE, Bruce underlined their focus and said, “Customisation and personalisation will remain our priority.”
Highlighting the uniqueness of the newly launched automobiles, he pointed out that the Jaguar F-PACE’s dynamic five-seat performance crossover offers a combination of Jaguar sports car inspired exterior design, fused with a practical and spacious luxury interior. “As for the Range Rover SVAutobiography, it is our most luxurious and powerful Range Rover ever and brings a new level of design sophistication to the Range Rover line-up,” he said.
But there is a mammoth challenge staring at Bruce. Awareness about the brand. He elaborated, “As a brand, Jaguar is still relatively unknown in these parts. Of course, we have refined the brand and the product, making them more appealing and awareness has been increasing in the last two to three years, as a result of investment in marketing and product PR as well as in the brand. Another challenge is to address the supply-demand factor. We have to create a proper sustainable balance on that front.”
The company is now looking at setting up its investment in the MENA region through the launch of new facilities, which include a $1.5 million engineering test centre to test examine its products in the region. “We have already launched the JLR training academy to improve customer service. We will also open a distribution centre in the Jebel Ali Free Zone to service the region,” he said.
While the brand perception may be a challenge for Jaguar Land Rover, it is taking every decision to precision and is leaving nothing to chance. And with Bruce at the helm, the Jaguar could roar and easily manage a powerful bite.