ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jaguar Cars North America will place heavy media weight behind the April launch of the redesigned 2007 XK coupe and convertible. Jaguar also will raise the dealer discount by 1 percentage point on the XK, similar to their one-point bump for the XJ last year, said Ken Gorin, chairman of the Jaguar Business Operations Council.
"I know of no other manufacturer that raised their margins in the past year," said Gorin, co-owner of The Collection in Coral Gables, Fla. He also sells Aston Martin, Audi, Ferrari, Lotus, Maserati and Porsche vehicles.
For a franchise under fire for sharply reduced volumes, the XK is crucial to give much-needed relief to dealer profits.
"We are committed to dealer profitability," said C.J. O'Donnell, Jaguar vice president of marketing.
The margin bump will offset the revenue drop resulting from the declining sales of the S-Type and X-Type, said Brian Allan, general manager of Galpin Premier Collection in Van Nuys, Calif.
Jaguar already has about 2,000 presold XK orders to American customers. Last year, Jaguar sold 2,282 XKs. David Murphy, president of Desert European Motorcars in Palm Springs, Calif., said he expects strong volumes at his dealership.
"We'll run 10 XKs a month, and we've done as many as 25 in the past," Murphy said. "That's an $80,000 car at full margin."
Commercials for the XK will build on the "Gorgeous" campaign, with music by the rock band Spoon, O'Donnell said. Jaguar will emphasize the 60-second spots during major network prime-time shows.
Longer-term, some Jaguar dealers have been shown the redesigned S-Type, which will arrive in early 2008. While the XK will help ease dealer profitability concerns, the S-Type is crucial to resurrecting the franchise.
In the meantime, there is the everyday task of selling the existing inventory, including the underperforming X-Type. Last year, Jaguar sold just 10,951 units of a car that was intended to sell 30,000-plus units.
There were rumors that Jaguar would abandon the X-Type in America, fueled by the car not appearing in the "Gorgeous" ads. But Allan said Jaguar will continue to provide advertising and marketing support at the dealer and regional level.
Just the same, incentive support across the line likely will be reduced.
Said Allan: "Jaguar wants to be a brand that people want to buy, rather than a brand you have to sell to someone."
You may e-mail Mark Rechtin at [email protected]