Every luxury carmaker believes China will be its number one market, but Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover is particularly optimistic. Owned by India’s Tata Motors, Jaguar Land Rover delivered 32,143 vehicles — 27,761 Land Rovers and 4,382 Jaguars — to China so far this year, up 60 percent over the first ten months of 2010. Bob Grace, the president of Jaguar and Land Rover China, expects both brands to sell a combined 40,000 units by the end of the year.
“China is taking a significantly more influential role in our business in terms of product engineering and design to make sure that we have products that are right for the emerging consumer,” said Phil Popham, group sales operation director for the company at its China headquarters in Shanghai.
Grace believes the just-released Range Rover Evoque, or Jiguang in Chinese, will give a massive boost to sales volume next year, though he declined to forecast sales figures for 2012. Prior to its release, the company received 7,000 pre-orders for the Jiguang, the smallest and most fuel-efficient Range Rover model.
Jaguar Land Rover already has warehouses in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Suzhou. There are plans for a fifth to be set up next year. Grace said that a new training academy will open in western China early next year as well, following the two existing academies in Beijing and Shanghai.
“In China the key thing we have been working on over the course of the last 16 months since we took control of distribution here was really getting closer to customers,” said Grace. The automaker now has 80 outlets throughout the country.
The company is also in the process of setting up with a local automaker in China, as imported vehicles are heavily taxed. Grace calls the process “long-term” and “complex,” but insists that the relocation of production will not have a negative impact on his brand’s image. He said that Jaguar Land Rover “will be absolutely stringent in terms of standards to ensure that a vehicle built here, the UK or anywhere else in the world is consistent and meets the expectation of customers in their perception of our brand.”
photo credit: jaguar land rover