By Bennett Oghifo
Collectors and lovers of Land Rover brand of vehicles in Nigeria will get a chance to ride the incredible piece of machinery known as the All-New Discovery before the end of the year.
It is at this period the auto maker, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will launch the brilliant All-New Discovery in Nigeria, Kenya and Angola.
The Sales Operations Director, Jaguar Land Rover, sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Nigel Clarke, specifically said the launch of the All-New Discovery in Kenya, Nigeria, and Angola will be more towards the end of the year.
Clarke said the launch is coming towards the end of the year in Nigeria “because there are a number of ongoing activities. We would launch about the same time as Kenya. So, Kenya’s is about the end of September or October. And it also depends on our partner, Dr. Cosmas Maduka, Chairman of Coscharis Motors, he will guide us in terms of the appropriate time to launch in Nigeria.”
Clarke, who was at the Media launch of the All-New Discovery in South Africa, described it as Brilliant. “I think it’s brilliant, I work for the business, clearly. I drove it about a year ago, but I’ve never driven it off road until this trip and I thought it was absolutely incredible, it was really excellent.”
The All-New Discovery performs other tricks. For the first time, a driver, working alone, can hook up a trailer unassisted. The driver will simply back-up to the trailer, using the rearview camera and with a little adjustment the job is done.
This brilliant move is peculiar to the All-New Discovery and Clarke noted it as he said, “Whether it’ll be on road, or on gravel, or off road, and particularly when they took us through the trailer exercise and the ATPC (All-Terrain Progress Control), really demonstrated the veracity and capability of the All-New Discovery. Brilliant.”
On JLR’s expectation of the vehicle’s sales performance in Nigeria, Clarke noted that it had “already started to do well in the markets where we’ve launched; we launched last weekend in Lusaka in Zambia, and it was well received. And we sold two cars, and we sold three cars in Accra in Ghana, when we launched it at the ‘Man of the Year’ event, which was a brilliant event, well attended. And we know that there are many people that are looking forward to order.
“But it’s not only in Nigeria, you know there are other countries that are going through difficult times; Angola, Kenya has had a bit of a slow down because of the elections. But you know it’s been prolonged in Nigeria, I feel unfortunately, but it will come back like all economies. And I think they seem to be putting in all the right policies.
“And I would be more interested to know about the automotive policy that seems to have not been as progressive as it could have been. And I think when you’ve got entrepreneurs such as Dr. Maduka, I mean they can really help the economy have some influence to really input into any future automotive policy.
“The Nigerian automotive policy should really work for the populace, because you’ve got what, I don’t know the population, but I think it’s 140+. So, it makes absolute sense in job creation and local components, etc. But it has to be done in a very strategic way, and with the right governance and quality of manufacturing.”
“I think we should launch it like we do in every other market; you know, we will work very closely with Dr. Maduka in the launch. We would have off road events. But I think across this whole brands, what we’ve done is; we’ve got 5-year warranty now to give consumers confidence. We’ve got 5-year service plans, we now offer pre-owned to give consumers confidence.”
Nigeria has massive growing auto market…
According to Clarke, “One of the challenges we have across Africa, not only in Nigeria, is that you have a massive growing market. Now that does help in terms of getting people into cars and be able to drive, because let’s face it, if you haven’t got a good public service transport, then you do need the populace to have access to cars. So, on one hand the growing market suits that, but equally what it does do is that it brings cars from America, from the Middle East.
He observed that these cars do not have the same specification, and that the engines are not calibrated for the local type of fuel. “So, on the one hand, the customer might feel that he has got a bargain, on the other, in a more relatively short term due to the quality of the fuel, and that car will suffer some challenges and potentially costly services, because it is the wrong specification of car.
“But, we now have all our vehicles come in with a 5-year warranty, 5-year service plan to give the consumer peace of mind. And also have the ability for approved used cars, so customers can go and buy a car that is two or three years old with the comfort and knowledge that he is buying the correct specification of vehicle. And our dealership in Nigeria has already been using that programme for the last six months.
The vehicles that would be sold in Nigeria, he said would use petrol, stating “We tend to only bring petrol into Nigeria, we have sold very few units of diesel, and that has been for the utility, mainly being Defender, some police business etc.
“But it is a very important market, particularly Range Rover, and we are all quietly confident it is going to turn around, and we hope that it works out for people, and job creation is made available. And we hope that the policies will start to turn the country around.”