BIRMINGHAM, UK - Jaguar's dealer network around Europe will expand to keep pace with the growing product lineup. When the S-type arrives next spring, the number of Jaguar Italia's exclusive dealers will have grown by a third to 20.
'By the time the X400 (BMW 3 series competitor due in 2001) arrives, I want to have 45 dealers - the majority of them exclusive,' said Jonathan Lewis, president and managing director of the fully-owned Jaguar subsidiary. 'In general, I would prefer to have one of our existing dealers open a new outlet to serve another area. But in some cases we will need to find the right partner for important open points such as Parma and Novara.'
Jaguar sells nearly three times as many cars in Italy as Fiat Group's Ferrari and Maserati brands combined. In fact, Italy is Jaguar's fifth largest market, after the USA, UK, Germany and Japan. 'We are breaking one record after another, but Jaguar's growth in Italy has only just begun,' said Lewis.
Based in Rome, Jaguar Italia was founded by Lewis in 1990. It took over the activities of two private importers - Koelliker Group for the north and center of the country, and Fattori & Montani for the south and islands. Lewis, 55, joined British Leyland almost 30 years ago. He has been working with Jaguar for 15 years, eight of them in Italy.
'We passed 1,000 sales in 1997, and we plan to achieve close to 1,500 this year,' said Lewis. 'We are targeting sales of about 2,000 in 1999. The S-type will take around 50 percent of that planned volume. When the new small car, the X400, arrives in 2002, we plan to take Jaguar Italia to 7,000 sales a year.'
Lewis said Jaguar plans to sell nearly 1,500 cars this year, including more than 1,000 XJ and Daimler sedans and more than 400 XK8s coupes and convertibles.
Jaguar Italia currently has 30 dealers, of which 11 are exclusive. On average, they sell 50 units a year and generate sales of around L5 billion ($3.1 million). 'But we also have four of Jaguar's biggest European dealers,' said Lewis. 'The ones in Florence, Milan and Rome will sell 150 cars each this year, and Bologna will sell over 100.'