JLR cancels move to agency and launches refreshed franchise model

Purley Automotive News - March 2024

JLR has cancelled plans to move to an agency model and is instead refocussing its franchised model with an ‘elevated concierge levels of client care’.

The brand has worked directly with retailers and revealed the new plans ahead of its annual ‘Retailer of the Year’ conference and awards next week.

JLR had been working on the move to agency for over two years and was originally planning to move to a ‘direct to consumer’ model this year.

Patick McGillycuddy, managing director JLR (UK) said the decision to move away from agency and focus on a refreshed franchised model was taken due to: “Internal and external challenges afoot, and the scale of change required to maintain a sustainable, profitable business.”

Dealer group bosses from Sytner Group, Hatfields and Vertu Motors all supported to the move to commit to a reworked franchised dealer model.

Darren Edwards, Sytner chief executive, said: “JLR is to be applauded for adapting to the rapidly changing dynamics we have witnessed in the UK new car market.

“The franchise model is a tried and trusted model, which can be intelligently flexed to suit the needs of all stakeholders involved in a new car transaction, i.e., clients, retailers and manufacturers.

“Sytner Group is convinced that the model JLR has created will provide a genuine modern luxury experience for our clients and look forward to many years of continued mutual success.”

Gareth Williams, Hatfield’s managing director, said JLR took a positive approach to work with retailers before finalising its retail plan.

During those meetings, the retailers all agreed that the franchise model “provides a robust route for delivering those client outcomes considering the current sales climate”.

Williams said: “The decision to prioritise the pursuit of an enhanced customer experience while retaining an established route to market is absolutely the right thing for our brands.”

Robert Forrester, Vertu Motors chief executive, said the decision to retain the franchise model was a decision made in consultation with JLR’s investor community.

He concluded: “ provides the stability to progress with delivering innovative services to our clients without distraction. On this basis, we welcome the news.”

Stellantis announced at the end of last year that it would be delaying its agency model plans until at least 2026 to allow new group managing director Maria Grazia Davino to “rebuild the confidence and trust of its franchisees”.

JLR is currently reviewing its network representation and McGillycuddy said the UK retail network will be “rationalised to ensure we have the right partners in the right locations”.

Article courtesy of www.am-online.com published 27th February 2024