General Manager of British Motors in Serbia discusses the success of the premium automotive brands Jaguar and Land Rover, professional perfectionism and explains why he believed in our national football team when no one else did.
The end of the year is nigh, when you look back, what are your impressions, compared to your forecasts?
Judging by the results we get through the Association of Importers of New Vehicles, it seems it will be a very good year. As for our brand, Jaguar Land Rover, I think we have found our place on the market. It was our desire from the start to fit in with the existing three premium brands, Mercedes, BMW and Audi and thus find our place as the fourth brand that will be neck and neck with others. We have managed to achieve that in this past year and in that sense, we have met our annual target.
At the level of the entire corporation, Jaguar Land Rover has experienced a 13 to 17 percent growth in the last three years. It is growing steadily on the global and European markets and we have practically managed to catch up to these results, relative to population size.
In August, we received an award as the best Jaguar Land Rover in Eastern Europe. This award was the coronation of the work we have put in this year.
In addition to the award, you will soon be opening a showroom in Montenegro, which is another proof of great success you have achieved in the Serbian market in only a year.
Yes, this is another piece of news in our operations. The preparations are well on their way and we will be opening a showroom in Podgorica on November 15. It will be in an exclusive location. The showroom will be in Capital Plaza, and we will also have a service centre. So, we are entering another market that will bring us some new challenges.
How would you describe the concept of British luxury on the road? What are the strongest selling points of these vehicles, from the view point of premium vehicle fans?
Land Rover has always been accompanied by an aristocratic spirit. It is a brand that comes with quality, but it is also a royal brand. World-wide, VIPs ride in Land Rovers, while other premium vehicles just follow in the motorcade. People notice these things. When you observe Land Rover as a part of something you have purchased, when you have been using it for some time, you can see that you bought something that is worth the money you paid for it. You didn’t pay for marketing, you paid for quality. This product justifies its price and this is why the brand is growing.
Jaguar Land Rover has been investing all its annual profits for the last three years into the development of new models, into research of engines – and mechanics in general. For example, a factory of 300,000 m2 will be opened in Slovenia next year, for the production of several new Land Rover models.
It is absolutely no trouble at all to sell either a Jaguar or a Land Rover, although Jaguar is specific. It is a luxury vehicle so the volume is significantly lower, but I am very happy that Jaguar vehicles are purchased by intellectuals, serious business players who know what they want from life, those who strive to set themselves apart in a crowd and on the street.
In terms of performance, Belgrade is at the very top of the Jaguar Land Rover sales locations in Europe. What does the Jaguar Land Rover showroom agenda look like?
The buyer must get the same impression in every location, in all cities. Standards, services, appearance, all need to be completely identical, whichever city you are in. There are 220 standards in total. We get several audits per year, people who control all these items. It is clearly defined how a receptionist should behave, how a sales person should behave, what furniture there should be, how many vehicles should be exhibited, what they should look like, how the prices should be presented, how quickly you should respond to e-mails, how the services post-sales work… Everything is precisely regulated and the standards must be complied with, otherwise you could lose your contract. Serbia achieves 100 percent in sales, 99 percent in post-sales. Only a few countries in the world have met the 100 percent of standards, which is why we won the award. But, we are planning to get our post-sales services to 100 percent, too.
You have entered into a sponsorship contract with the Football Association of Serbia, with the slogan „The Best with the Best“, at a time when almost no one believed in Serbian football. Now that the national team has qualified for the World Championship, what are your impressions? What did the cheering look like?
You have to believe in some things before everyone else starts to. I am certain that today, all representatives of the automotive industry would gladly enter into a contract with the Football Association of Serbia like the one we have. I recognized immediately the team from the Football Association, it was clear to me that these were dedicated people and that the players have finally grasped that they need to fight for their country. I watched all the games. I was in Dublin and in Vienna, too… Literally at every match that was played. Honestly, we were all in a panic until the last moment. We didn’t expect to lose to Austria in Vienna. But, what we experienced there was magnificent. In a „foreign country“ there were over 30,000 of our fans, with our flags, cheering faithfully. I will never forget that moment. Still, we got lucky and the hard work paid off.
Land Rover Velar is something relatively new, and it was long announced. How are the buyers responding to it?
The latest model Land Rover Velar is selling really well in Serbia. Serbia had the great honour, we were the first among the countries in the region to present the Velar. In most European countries, it made its debut in September and we already had it in July. This is a very good car. It is a high-quality model, compared to all the competitors in its class. It is elegant, and it is at the same time both an off-road vehicle and a passenger car.
People used to complain about the multimedia and navigation system; with this model, it has been improved to the point that it is several years ahead of all the models that are yet to come. Buyers are responding very well. The car drives beautifully. All the people who bought it were very pleased with it and we truly expect a lot from this model.
By: Miljana Nešković