Land Rover and its UK dealers were “probably a bit complacent” about sales of the new Range Rover Velar as a result of the massive interest in the car following its reveal, Andy Goss, the company's global sales operations director, has admitted.
Stressing that sales were now on track for the BMW X6 and Porsche Macan rival, Goss said that Land Rover was initially surprised by the relatively low ratio of test drives to orders. Launch editions of the Velar costs as much as £85,450, although entry-level versions of the car are available from £44,380.
“We had a couple of things to learn if I’m honest - some adjustments to make,” said Goss. “The moment the car was revealed, the enquiry lines were red hot and we were smashing our targets like never before, and I think that led us to believe that the car would sell itself.
“But, of course, life isn’t that easy. We needed to reassess the right approach. Our dealers had taken the levels of interest and set in stone that they wouldn’t need to discount the car to sell it, for instance. Perhaps they saw a surfeit of milk and honey and felt they didn’t have to try as hard as perhaps they might otherwise.
“The adjustments we had to make were small: a tweak in the interest rates on finance and opening up the space for dealers to negotiate a bit, to give customers what they rightly want and expect - a good-value deal.
"Once we’d done that the orders came in quickly, and last month the Velar comfortably outsold the Macan.”
So far, around 20% of Velar sales have been to Range Rover Evoque customers trading up, with the vast majority being to customers new to the Land Rover brand. “There are very few Range Rover Sport customers trading down,” said Goss.
Haggled discounts of around £2000 are now possible on the Velar according to latest data, with What Car?’s new car buyer marketplace offering dealers selling the car at up to a 1.5% discount.