As Jaguar Land Rover reveals that it is now selling a new vehicle every four minutes, the company has been outlining plans to upgrade its dealer network, establish a new look for its UK showrooms and accommodate new ways of buying cars in the digital age.
The plan comes hot on the heels of record new sales figures for JLR, which sold 62,314 vehicles in the UK in the first six months of the year. That's a 24% increase on the same period last year.
JLR bosses explained the firm's retail strategy for the rest of the decade to Autocar at an exclusive briefing. Executives, including JLR UK boss Jeremy Hicks, emphasised that the £4 billion annual investment the company is currently making into new models and infrastructure will be mirrored by £1bn from dealers between 2014 and 2018.
A programme of upgrading more than 230 showrooms to stylish, clean-looking, ultra-modern 'retail temples' – with marked similarities to Apple Stores – is currently under way. The new showrooms will feature comfortable lounge-style waiting areas with free wi-fi, alongside drive-in covered service departments. The new-look showrooms will in most instances put Jaguar and Land Rover dealerships together under one roof.
Hicks said: “Jaguar Land Rover has invested massively in its vehicles and production facilities in recent years and now, to accommodate the shift in quality of those vehicles and the numbers of them being built, we’re transforming the retailer network.
“By 2020, 86% of our retailer sites will be dual-brand Jaguar Land Rover sites, compared to 34% today, and they’ll all be consistent in look and feel, with a premium design and high-quality materials.”
Car buyers are now making fewer visits to showrooms before buying a car – just 1.5 visits on average now, compared with 10 a decade ago. JLR dealers are adjusting to the demands of digital consumers with longer opening hours and new digital tools, such as virtual reality technology, to complement the research that consumers now embark on before buying their next vehicle.
At the same time, JLR is also encouraging dealers to invest in new staff, including taking on nearly 1000 apprentices by 2020, and change the way salespeople are paid, reducing the element of commission and increasing basic salaries.