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Jeremy Hicks on the high-octane life at the top of JLR

It’s all go at Jaguar Land Rover
AFTER five months at JLR, managing director Jeremy Hicks feels exhausted – for all the right reasons – in a completely energised way.
Story: Ralph Morton
655_JeremyHicks
JLR's md Jeremy Hicks (right) gets BCM editor Ralph Morton energised with a humourous aside

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31 March 2012

Business Car Manager editor Ralph Morton with JLR's Jeremy Hicks
It's not just the biscuits that give JLR's md Jeremy Hicks (right) his energy - it's the firm's owners, too...BCM editor Ralph Morton picks up the energy vibe

By Ralph Morton

JEREMY Hicks, late of the parish of Audi, now pastor of Jaguar Land Rover.

Jeremy’s always interesting to talk to – when you get the chance, which is rare. But when you do, he is eloquent, precise and passionate. So what’s it like, then Jeremy being managing director of Jaguar Land Rover?

“It’s been a great five months here. Rejuvenating!” Big smiles. Clearly it has Jeremy extraordinarily galvanised.

“What really, really impresses me is the commitment of the owners – Tata – to the business. Nothing’s a problem. A three storey building appeared out of the ground overnight just for the engineers. Product is the lifeblood of any organisation. But Tata’s commitment to it is amazing. It’s great, everyone’s knackered because we’re all working so hard – but that’s fantastic. We’re a small business but a significant business in the UK.”

 

 

Indeed. Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to business itself is impressive. The company has just created 1000 new jobs at its Halewood factory near Liverpool in order to support increased demand for the Land Rover Freelander and Range Rover Evoque.

Jaguar XF 2.2 Diesel
New Jaguar XF 2.2 Diesel - big draw for small businesses and SME directors

The company is actively promoting the concept of engineering to youngsters and through exhibitions such as The Big Bang – the UK’s largest celebration of science and technology for young people.

Clearly the company is running on bags of energy – and Jeremy admits he’s almost impatient to roll out the new Jaguars and Land Rover products the company has in the pipeline

What is it, I ask Jeremy, that makes Jaguar and Land Rover so appealing to the British mindset?

“If you look at the products we’re producing they are so exciting. Take the Evoque. The Evoque is almost identical to concept car that was shown. To bring a car so true to the concept to market is astonishing.

 

  • Jaguar’s David Lewis on Jaguar and SMEs. Read it  here

 

“Both brands also have great heritage and a fondness in people’s minds, too, so I think that helps.

Jaguar is also expanding into the SME business car and company car market now it has the products to really broaden the company’s appeal

“Now we’ve got a four-cylinder diesel and Sport model. Over 60 per cent of this executive car market is four cylinder. When I was on gardening leave that’s the car I wanted – the 2.2d XF. The XF is a game-changing car. I defy anyone to say it’s not the most attractive in the segment.

“We also had no estate car. Now we have both. It gives us much better access to the corporate market. We need a more balanced profile because at the moment we have too much retail and we also need to attract younger people into the brand, too.”

Jaguar UK sales director David Lewis, BCM editor Ralph Morton and JLR managing director Jeremy Hicks
David Lewis (left), Jaguar's UK sales director, joins the conversation with editor Morton and Jeremy Hicks

Clearly, it’s all happening at JLR. And Jeremy is harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of the company’s owners – and his own – to bring these new products to us.

Which is great news for business and company car drivers. I can’t wait.

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Ralph Morton

Ralph Morton

Ralph Morton is an award-winning journalist and the founder of Business Car Manager (now renamed Business Motoring). Ralph writes extensively about the car and van leasing industry as well as wider fleet and company car issues. A former editor of What Car?, Ralph is a vastly experienced writer and editor and has been writing about the automotive sector for over 35 years.

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