JAGUAR GERMANY will spend about DM5 million ($2.7 million) leading up to the launch of the new S-Type sports car next April - five times more than the company has ever spent on a car launch.
Jaguar has targeted 300,000 luxury car owners in Germany who will receive promotional mailings about the car starting this month. The campaign will also use newspaper ads.
The S-Type puts Jaguar in a brand new category, competing against the BMW 5 series, Mercedes E-class and Audi A6, the cars that rule the mid-sized luxury segment in Europe.
'This is a big program for us,' said Jeffrey Scott, managing director of Jaguar Germany, 'but we know these people don't know a lot about Jaguar; we've never been a real contender in that market.'
The USA and UK have been Jaguar's biggest markets, but the company is looking for a dramatic sales rise in Germany, Europe's largest luxury car market.
Jaguar sold 3,151 cars in Germany last year.
Scott aims to raise that number to 21,000 no later than 2003, or about 3 percent of the total German luxury car market. Last year, Jaguar had less than half a percent of the 700,000 luxury car sales there.
Although the letters will create awareness of the XKR supercharged sports car, sales of XKRs are expected to be small. Jaguar hopes to reach a much wider audience with the S-Type and the smaller X-400 that goes on sale in 2001.
Jaguar believes many of its new customers will be women. Currently only 10 percent of the brand's European buyers are women.
'Reaching women will be the real challenge for the S-Type, and even more so for the X-400,' said Scott.
Jaguar Germany will increase the number of its dealers to 120 by 2003 from 70 now. About 30 of the 50 new sites will be operated by new dealers. Jaguar also has asked its dealers to expand their stores and add more sales and service personnel.