LAS VEGAS -- Jaguar's new marketing campaign and U.S. Web site are driving more customers into showrooms, dealers said after their meeting.
"Everybody recognizes that over the years there has been a lack of attention to the brand. The new ownership is addressing it. They made a large commitment to Tier 1 advertising," said Jeff Davis, chairman of the Jaguar Business Operations Council. "For 20 years, it appeared that the U.S. market was not really allowed to address the market -- it was what the U.K. wanted."
The new TV campaign, "Jaguar at Play," was developed exclusively for the U.S. market and launched in December, said Davis who owns Jaguar Cleveland in Solon, Ohio.
U.S. dealers badgered the brand for several years to make more funds available for marketing -- especially since sales are low because there is no volume vehicle in the range, dealers said. "No one is going to buy a car because there is a pop-up ad on the Internet. You will only do that with Tier 1 advertising," Davis said.
In December, Jaguar North America also debuted a Web site designed for this market, and customer leads have already increased 30 percent, Davis said. Previously, U.S. consumers had to go to the worldwide Jaguar Web site, which was difficult to use, dealers said.
The new jaguarusa.com Web site is brighter, more appealing and easier to navigate, dealers said. Leads are now pushed to local dealers based on the ZIP code entered by a potential buyer. Previously, consumers were directed to dealers as far away as 150 miles, Davis said.
Dealers attribute the changes to the influence of Andy Goss, who became CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America last year, said Wayne Babcock, general manager of Cole European, a Jaguar and Land Rover store in Walnut Creek, Calif.
Dealers said Goss told them the brand would like more combined Jaguar/Land Rover stores to create larger facilities with a bigger presence in local markets. It's a subject dealers are familiar with because Chrysler Group and General Motors urged similar consolidations during their bankruptcies, Davis said.
Babcock said his store already runs both brands out of the same dealership. "We need to see what dealers we can get together and try to have the brands together where possible."
Jaguar Land Rover has said its program will be voluntary.
Dealers were also told that Jaguar will announce a facility program this year. Jaguar stores have no consistent look, and many are outdated, Goss said earlier this year. Jaguar wants stores to have a modern and upscale appearance similar to Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and BMW stores.
The meeting was attended by about 80 dealers and top management of Jaguar Land Rover North America, including Goss and Chris Marchand, executive vice president of operations.