JLR has struggled in China. What is your strategy there now?
Since 1994 we have had three to four cyclical downturns in the Western world, which is normal, but the Chinese market was growing each and every year. Then, all of a sudden, last year it was down, which was seismic. One of the reasons why we had a difficult 2018 was that we took a conscious decision not to offset the overall slowdown by pushing volume at any cost, so we cut production. We are in it for the long run. If we start a really dirty discounting game in China and buy market share in a relatively young market, what does that do to our brand? It says we are a discount brand and that doesn’t match what Jaguar and Land Rover should stand for.
Is your China business now sustainable?
We see green shoots in China. We didn’t just take out production. We worked intensively with retailers, we simplified our product offer and we worked on the cost side. Now we are growing again. I’m not saying we have completed the turnaround, but we have the patience. It’s such a young market, whatever we do right and wrong now will influence our success in China, which will be the biggest premium market for the next 10 to 20 years. But at the same time the market is still declining so we face headwinds on a more macroeconomic level.
Was it perhaps inevitable that the Chinese gold rush would end?
Based on that, should Jaguar be making XE and XFs sedans?
What does the new Land Rover Defender add for you?
The Defender also looks pretty versatile. Are you worried about taking customers from the Discovery?
The Discovery creates a whole stream of customers for whom the Defender is not the right car. The Defender might draw them in, but maybe they will think it’s perhaps not 100 percent for them, so they will have a second look at the Discovery.
Are you frustrated that the Discovery is not doing better?
Are you worried about the environmental and safety backlash targeting SUVs?
MEET THE SALES BOSS
NAME: Felix Bräutigam
TITLE: Jaguar Land Rover Chief Commercial Officer
MAIN CHALLENGE: Putting enough distance between JLR’s two brands and their competition to create sustainable demand without needing to discount.