Business Car Manager Reports: Jaguar purrs up alongside SMEs

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Ralph Morton, editor at Business Car Manager, takes a look at Jaguar's tempting offers coming to SMEs from this month.

Jaguar's David Lewis: enabling dealers to do business with SMEs

David Lewis, Jaguar’s UK sales director, has undertaken a complete re-training programme of the company’s 90 dealers to make sure the dealers understand the SME market and its requirements.

“What we’re trying to do is put some basic standards into dealers - training, marketing and process. It's understanding what is SME and how to go about approaching their requirements. So from 01 April we'll see some attractive personal leases available that I think will really appeal to any small business owner.”

"From 01 April we'll see some attractive personal leases available that I think will really appeal to any small business owner.”

David, who looks after retail and corporate sales, says Jaguar to date has been focused far too much on the retail side of its business – selling to private buyers.

Much of this change of focus has been brought about by the new 2.2 diesel in the Jaguar XF. There are two versions, a 2.2 163PS version – look out for the Business SE model in particular – and a higher power 2.2 193PS version: the one you want is the Sport LE.

Both these Jaguars have CO2 emissions of 149g/km, which gives them a 23% benefit in kind company car tax banding for 2012. A BMW 520d M Sport Auto in comparison has a 19% company car tax banding – the gap having closed following April’s changes to the company car tax system.

Jaguar XF

The Jaguar XF 2.2 Sport is the in-demand car at the moment from small businesses and SME company car buyers

It’s not that business buyers haven’t stepped through the door of a Jaguar dealer before of course – the XF has been a massive draw. But David says they don’t often flag up to dealers until the moment of transaction because SMEs tend to operate with a retail headset.

“We’ve got 30 corporate dealers who are delivering to the big corporates where the purchase is clearly a business transaction. But what we now need is the rest of our dealers to understand the needs of SMEs – typical readers of the Busienss Car Manager website – and what they want. So it’s understanding benefit in kind and writing down allowances.”

Clearly Jaguar has a massive apeal to SMEs that the company is unlocking with more accessible cars such as the 2.2 XF and the forthcoming XF Sportbrake estate. But what is that David thinks makes the brand so attractive to small businesses?

“I think it's the fact that a Jaguar is a different offering to the Germans – Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Entrepreneurs are individual, and Jaguar is that. And with the 2.2 diesel now Jaguar has all the rationale - the business side – to really tap that appeal,” says David.

"I don’t know what the business car finance offer is on the Jaguar 2.2 yet – David wouldn’t tell me until the campaign breaks on the first of April. But judging by the wry smile on his face, it will be very good," says Ralph Morton, editor at Business Car Manager.

In which case, which is the Jaguar business car SMEs should go for?

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Jaguar's appeal to SMEs will broaden further with the introduction of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake later this year.

“The hot model at the moment is the Sport version,” came David’s reply. “We thought the Business SE would be the one, but it’s the higher power Sport model and its sporting pack looks that really seem to be doing the business.

"The price point is above £30,000 and the wait on the car is about eight weeks, which is longer than we would like.”

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Conrad Swailes
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