India holds a lot of potential despite overnight regulatory changes: JLR

Chennai: The global automotive world is going through testing times with changes in regulations to reduce emissions and powertrains, as countries around the world look to clamp down on demerits that are the by-product of conventional automotives.

This had brought along with it potential job losses as automation is increased in factories with each passing day. Further, the market is looking at changing customer trends with focus centering on cutting edge technology.

In this context, News Today had an interaction with Rohit Suri, the president and managing director of Jaguar Land Rover India.

Exerpts from his interview-

Q) How important is India as a market for Jaguar Land Rover?

A) India is an extremely crucial market in our overall strategy from a global standpoint. While the luxury car market in India is very small compared to other international geographies, it holds a lot of future potential and growth opportunities in the years to come.

Q) A word on Chennai operations

A) Chennai is one of our largest markets with our retailer providing customers an experience of our products and service through two facilities. In fact the outlet at Poonamallee is spread across 2,318 (sq) metres and is equipped with 17 service bays and an integrated service workshop.

Q) With changing trends in technology, how is the brand working on new powertrain solutions with respect to India?

A) All powertrain options will be made available in line with our global strategy and as per the focus on international product line-up. In India we are constantly evaluating all powertrain options rolled out by Jaguar Land Rover globally.

Q) Does India’s unique way of going about things affect JLR’s plans in the country?

A) The overall regulation ecosystem in India is constantly going through change with little or no notice. Such overnight changes do affect our plans and are usually at the cost of the business. In recent years growth has also been muted on account of the high GST tax structure of 48 per cent for sedans and 50 per cent on SUVs. In addition, the import duty on completely built units (CBUs) is at an extremely high 210 per cent. In 2018, the auto sector has faced some serious challenges such as tight liquidity conditions, amplified upfront insurance costs and increased lending rates. All of this affects the growth potential of the segment as well as job creation.

Q) A word on job losses/cuts in the firm. Will India be affected in the future?

A) As a business, both in India and globally we are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry, globally. The ‘Charge and Accelerate’ programme combines efficiency measures with targeted investment, safeguarding our future and ensuring that we maximise the opportunities created by the ever changing automotive landscape.

Q) Could you give us revenue figures for the year and also the sales figures?

A) For the period of January to December 2018, we sold 4,596 units registering a growth of 16 per cent. The growth was driven by models like the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar F-Pace, XE and XF with over half of all sales in 2018 being driven by SUVs. (Suri did not give revenue figures for the Indian market due to company policy)

Q) Gives us a brief overview of JLR’s India operations at present and future plans

A) Jaguar Land Rover vehicles are available in India through 27 authorized outlets in 25 cities and we continue to grow each year by adding two to three new dealerships every year. Potential and existing customers aspire to own our brands, Jaguar and Land Rover. We therefore provide customer experience events like The Art Of Performance Tour for Jaguar and The Above and Beyond Tour for Land Rover. Once a customer experiences our product then his purchase journey becomes significantly shorter.

On Budget
“During this interim budget, the government did not provide any specific incentive or announce any initiative that impacts the market in which Jaguar Land Rover functions in India,” Rohit Suri said.

 

SVO status
Answering to a question about the brand’s special vehicle operations in India, Suri said, “We provide our customers with SVO products against orders placed by them. The Range Rover Sport SVR, the Range Rover SV Autobiography and SV Autobiography Dynamic, Range Rover Velar SVA-D, Jaguar F-PACE SVR and F-TYPE SVR are available to Indian audiences. The SVO versions elevate the performance of the respective nameplates while enhancing the luxury quotient of the product.”

Praveen Kumar S