GAYDON, England - Land Rover has begun reorganizing its global dealer network after being bought by Ford Motor Co. from BMW in May.
Land Rover will transfer responsibility for its distribution in three Scandinavian - Sweden, Norway and Finland - countries to Volvo, according to Land Rover CEO Bob Dover. Volvo is also owned by Ford.
Land Rover wants to grow sales in Scandinavia and give its dealers higher visibility. Most Land Rover sales outlets in the Nordic countries had been contained within BMW dealerships.
This arrangement left Land Rover with 'no specialization, no commitment and no investment,' said Matthew Taylor, newly appointed director of marketing and sales.
During 1999, Land Rover sold about 1,200 cars in Sweden, 500 in Norway and 300 in Finland.
Distribution is one of the most difficult issues facing the Land Rover's new management team, which began work at the company's new Gaydon headquarters at the beginning of July.
During the past couple of years of ownership by BMW, the German manufacturer rolled the distribution networks of Land Rover and Rover into its own in many countries. Worldwide, there are basically four kinds of arrangements the new management team must sort out, according to Taylor.
Markets such as Australia, the UK and USA have standalone Land Rover dealerships. In countries such as France, Italy and Spain, Land Rover and Rover car dealerships are combined.
In Germany and the Nordic countries, Land Rover is rolled into BMW dealerships. The fourth category includes countries such as Argentina, Russia and South Korea, where BMW acts as importer.
'We need a different approach to each of these,' said Taylor.
Land Rover and Volvo are both part of Premier Automotive Group, Ford's umbrella for luxury brands.
Dover, formerly CEO of Aston Martin, repeated Land Rover's goal to be profitable within two years. He said 5 percent is the minimum acceptable profit level.
'In the long run,' said Dover, 'we need to do better.'