“We will not fight on price”, declares Jacek Górski, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover Inchcape Poland, the new importer responsible for the distribution of vehicles of these British brands in Poland. In the interview, he reveals what changes we can expect and whether Jaguar and Land Rover will eventually break the German dominance of the premium segment.
Mateusz Żuchowski, Autokult.pl: Inchcape takes on Jaguar and Land Rover brands for a limited time. Is the current economic climate an additional challenge from a supplier’s perspective?
Jacek Górski, Jaguar Land Rover Inchcape Poland: The coronavirus pandemic is clearly having an impact on business decisions made by car companies. However, I am pleasantly surprised by the strength of the Polish market. The results of recent months have shown that when it comes to premium products, the market is defending itself. From our point of view, this is positive news, because the entry of a new supplier is therefore not burdened with the risk that can be expected. That is why, as the new distributor of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, we are optimistic about the future.
M.Ż.: It can be said that the environment for taking on a new job is also unique, because the cooperation with the British of the current distributor in Poland, British Automotive Holding, has been turbulent in recent months and is full of upheavals and. shift This also affected the difficulties for customers, who experienced delays in picking up cars for months or canceled orders. Do you see these events as an additional burden for your new business?
JG: After the original distributor, we took over almost the entire dealer network, except for one dealer, which ended its operations at the decision of British Automotive Holding. We have already signed new agreements with traders and others. We are currently working on the return of the vehicle. In the coming weeks, we will be restoring all the important processes involved in product availability, this work has already started and is in full progress.
M.Ż .: Will you stop there or do you plan to increase your participation?
JG: Inchcape is interested in entering the Polish automotive retail market, but this is still in the planning phase. We intend to develop the Jaguar Land Rover dealer network, because the current ten dealerships in a country like Poland, in terms of geography and market power, are definitely not enough.
However, we will promote the dealer network in a responsible manner. We want our businesses to be strong, profitable and grow. There are areas where Jaguar and Land Rover are already capable, and which are not yet, so we will focus our efforts there now. These are cities such as Bydgoszcz, Lublin, and Rzeszów. We will also increase our presence in the largest market in Poland, namely Warsaw.
M.Ż .: From Inchcape’s point of view, will it have a business justification to take over the entire ownership of British Automotive Holding, since this company will announce its presence more on the stock market?
JG: No, this possibility is not considered.
M.Ż .: What will be the policy of Jaguar Land Rover Inchcape on the Polish market? The Polish payment market is ravaged by deep discounting and the entrusted brands have participated in this process to some extent. This was forced on the original distributor by the ambitious sales targets set by the UK headquarters. What does this relationship with the manufacturer look like in your case?
JG: First of all, we want to be competitive. We research the market and perform price and volume analysis. We don’t want to face the big players in the premium segment yet. However, we believe that there is room for our products and for the development of our products. We have to find our place in the market, because our products are competitive and unique, have many features, such as excellent and award-winning design, that attract customers and for which customers are willing to pay more than the most popular competition. . We will not fight over price.
M.Ż .: You returned to Poland six months ago, after twenty years living abroad. You have extensive experience in a wide range of sales models for several automotive companies, including Jaguar Land Rover. How can this experience translate into Inchcape’s activities on the Polish market? What are your personal expectations for this mission entrusted to you?
JG: The organization I lead is a young organization, so my current relationship with Jaguar Land Rover will certainly be beneficial. It will help to know how the group works “from the inside”. For me, the most important thing is that our products are appreciated by customers. We do not want to buy market share for ourselves at any cost. I will put a lot of emphasis on the level of customer service and the development of services offered to them, such as financing, insurance, mobility and services. We want to treat customers as part of the JLR family, not as a source of short-term income. I take a long-term view in my actions and I know that Inchcape has a similar approach to business. The new distributor is a joint venture between Inchcape and JLR. The combination of the business practices of a global distributor and manufacturer is a very promising combination.
M.Ż .: Inchcape is a very serious partner for car manufacturers. It operates in 34 markets. What are the advantages of the presence of this company in the whole puzzle for Polish customers?
JG: Inchcape is a very interesting and exciting company because it has experience in the distribution and sale of cars. This combination offers a new perspective as the developers are largely committed to distribution. Inchcape, on the other hand, grew out of retail and became a distributor over time. The company works with many leading car manufacturers, so it has the ability to learn from all of them and choose the practices that are most effective and successful. We want to make the most of this great experience.
JG: The entire automotive industry is currently facing difficult times, and their main reason is the constant and consistent tightening of emission standards and, indirectly, forcing the transition from internal combustion to electric drives. electricity. Jaguar Land Rover made the right decisions and decided to electrify at the right time.
Very little has been said about the high speed of electrification of Jaguar and Land Rover drives. In this regard, it is one of the leading brands in the market. This is not an electric I-Pace. Many models already have hybrid drives, and soon, from next model year, all our models will be electric. Currently, about 2/3 of the model range has hybrids on the line or Plug in.
This transmission will continue because there is no turning back from it. Therefore, one has to go through a more difficult period of change, which is associated with high production costs, but these costs are falling and will fall even faster. Economic indicators show that a breakthrough in the production of key components, i.e. traction batteries, is imminent.
The production costs of internal combustion and electric vehicles will also level off in the coming years as well because the development of new internal combustion engines will be more and more expensive. This leads to the conclusion that electric cars will compete with combustion cars, also on the Polish market, soon. This electrification will continue, and the sooner it happens, the better for everyone. Better than a slow, laborious process is a short-term shock, after which you can start working in a new way.
M.Ż .: There is also the issue of infrastructure and subsidies from the government. In my opinion, it is these two shortcomings that affect the still low interest of Polish drivers in electric cars and plug-in hybrids, not counting the small group of supporters or institutional customers.
JG: Of course, Poland is a little behind when it comes to infrastructure, but I am sure that the development in this area will also pick up speed. It already seems. In this short-term perspective, government support is essential. Poland took the first step, but then retreated. I am not sure if this summer support will be available in 2021. I expect there may be difficulties with that, given the current state of the economy.
Infrastructure is also a very important, under-discussed aspect of government support. Especially for fleet customers who dominate the Polish market, it will be important to be able to charge the car on the side of the road throughout the country. It is where these stations are most needed, because there are enough chargers in work and housing around the city.
JG: Leaving the European Union involves additional customs administration, but the trade agreement between the UK and the EU has already been signed, so we expect that all political and economic aspects will return to normal soon. Therefore, we do not expect further problems in the availability of our cars on the Polish market, or changes in their prices. It is worth noting that we also have two factories in Europe, one in Slovakia and the other in Austria, where cars are produced for the European market and are not affected in any way by the effects of Brexit.