As global investment of over USD $5.8 Billion continues to generate a powerful line up of innovative sports cars and luxury SUVs for Jaguar Land Rover across the world, Bruce Robertson, Jaguar Land Rover’s new man in MENA has been giving his take on the future of the luxury British marque in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Robertson said that investment by the brand in MENA would drive further innovation and expansion in the region, saying: “Investment is the fuel for innovation and prosperity for the brand here in the region” and will result in further development in training, customer service, engineering and product development.
With Jaguar’s record sales increase of 21% in its last full fiscal year, Robertson noted that the brand also boasted an all-time peak performance in March. MENA’s new Managing Director then went on to reference the oldest Jaguar dealer in the world; Saad & Trad SAL in Lebanon who started importing Jaguars almost 65 years ago in 1950, before going on to say that: “The stage was firmly set for Jaguar’s unbeatable future product pipeline, most notably the Jaguar XE”, which follows a seven year run of success, since the launch of the award winning Jaguar XF, the flagship XJ and most recently the Jaguar F-TYPE.
Land Rover, present in the Middle East for over 65 years has produced equally successful yields. Last fiscal, sales were up 39% on the previous year making MENA the third fastest growing Land Rover market globally. This, Robertson says, puts the brand in its strongest position yet as it prepares to launch the new Discovery Sport; a move he hopes will: “See us make it to fourth position overall for Jaguar Land Rover globally.”
Now present in 17 markets in the MENA region with 40 dealerships, Robertson’s aim is to grow the Jaguar Land Rover dealer footprint to 64 dealerships across 18 markets in the next 3 years with strategic actions planned in 2014 to further strengthen the regional dealer network.
Speaking about the challenge, Robertson said: “I want to ensure that we have a long term business that is sustainable and profitable for both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands. We will achieve this through successful partnerships with our dealers and delivering fantastic products that are relevant to consumers here in the region.”
Investment is top of the agenda for Jaguar Land Rover MENA and will support the launch of dedicated facilities to service the region. These facilities include an enhanced USD $1.5 Million state-of-the-art Engineering Test Centre launched last year to test both Jaguar and Land Rover products in the Middle East region. Another first for the region, the JLR Training Academy, launched last month, has been developed to meet ambitious growth targets and will enable Jaguar Land Rover to replicate the in-depth training offered by its UK-based Academy and will ensure the company maintains the high quality experience its customers have come to expect.
Further evidence of investment in its growing operation in MENA is confirmation from Robertson that a dedicated JLR parts distribution centre will be opened in Jebel Ali Free Zone to service the entire region. JLR is also investing heavily in regional consumer insights and trends across both brands and for Robertson this is an area of great importance: “For us, it goes beyond in-market testing and training – we are actually engineering our cars for this region based on the feedback we get from our customers and I am confident we will have even more innovative products that are tailored for our MENA audience – cars that won’t just be popular, but will dominate their segments.”
Robertson brings with him over 19 years in global sales and operational roles for Jaguar Land Rover in key markets including China, the UK and South Africa. His most recent post as Executive Vice President for Sales & Service Operations in China saw the South African native play an instrumental role in transforming the business in China from an operation selling less than 20,000 vehicles a year with 34 dealers to selling 103,000 vehicles with 220 dealers in under three years making it Jaguar Land Rover’s current largest market globally.
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