JLR boss admits that company expectations that the new SUV would â€œsell itselfâ€ were not borne out
Land Roverâ€™s global sales operations director Andy Goss has admitted that the company and its UK dealers might have been â€œa bit complacentâ€ about sales of the newÂ Range Rover VelarÂ after the huge interest generated by its launch.
A relatively low ratio of test drives to orders took the company by surprise. Although Velar prices started from Â£44,380, some launch editions cost as much as Â£85,450. The introduction of a flexible pricing strategy has since brought a surge of UK sales for theÂ BMW X6Â andÂ Porsche MacanÂ rival.
â€œWe had a couple of things to learn if Iâ€™m honest, some adjustments to make,â€ said Goss. â€œThe moment the car was revealed, the enquiry lines were red hot and we were smashing our targets like never before, and I think that led us to believe that the car would sell itself.
â€œBut, of course, life isnâ€™t that easy. We needed to reassess the right approach. Our dealers had taken the levels of interest and set in stone that they wouldnâ€™t need to discount the car to sell it, for instance.
â€œPerhaps they saw a surfeit of milk and honey and felt they didnâ€™t have to try as hard as perhaps they might otherwise.
â€œThe adjustments we had to make were small: a tweak in the interest rates on financeÂ and opening up the space for dealers to negotiate a bit, to give customers what they rightly want and expect – a good-value deal.
“Once weâ€™d done that the orders came in quickly, and last month the Velar comfortably outsold the [Porsche] Macan.â€
So far, only around 1 in 5 Velar sales have been toÂ Range Rover EvoqueÂ customers trading up, with â€œvery fewâ€Â Range Rover SportÂ customers trading down to it. By far the biggest percentage of Velar sales are being made to new Land Rover customers. Itâ€™s now possible to secure dealer discounts of up to Â£2000 on the car.