Alto, New Mexico, United States
Brazil is the place to be, apparently. Toyota has been investing in the South American country, as has BMW, which announced a $261 million investment in October 2012, on the heels of an Audi factory announcement in San José Chiapa. The high-end immigration is only set to continue, as Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar-Land Rover have both announced plans to set up manufacturing operations there.
Mercedes is the big news here, as its new facility will see the German manufacturer invest 170-million euros for production of its next-generation C-Class and upcoming GLA-Class. "Brazil is an important future market. With our local production we accept the challenge and take on the competition," noted Andreas Renschler, Management Board member for Production and Procurement at Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans. Production is expected to begin by 2016.
Jaguar-Land Rover, meanwhile, isn't so concrete in its plans. The news of its investment in South America comes from a job posting for a plant quality manager in Brazil that was picked up by the UK's AutoCar. "Portuguese language skills will be definite advantage" for interested candidates, according to the job listing. The want ad follows on the heels of remarks by Jaguar Land Rover's Dr. Ralph Speth, who said there are "very intensive discussions" with Brazil's government. Unlike Mercedes, there's no mention of which vehicles will be produced in South America, although AutoCar thinks the Freelander, sold in the US as the LR2, is a leading contender.
Wed, 16 Oct 2013 10:00:00 EST
Nearly every major business is collecting consumer data these days, and keeping that data secure has come to the forefront of many customer's minds. Jaguar Land Rover North America's decision to begin requesting more customer info from its dealer network appears unfortunately timed, however. If it had come a few years ago, it might have been ignored, but in today's climate of heightened awareness, a few dealers are pushing back. To put the showrooms in an even tougher position, JLR NA is threatening to deny quarterly incentives if they do not turn over the customer data, according to Automotive News.
JLR NA instated the nationwide plan, which it calls Single View CRM, on February 7, but according to Stuart Schorr, Jaguar Land Rover North America Vice President of Communications, the automaker has been negotiating with its dealers to institute the new program for over a year. Schorr tells Autoblog that no financial information is being shared, noting that such data is limited to customer details, including things like what vehicles they own and whether they have any pending service. The initiative is meant to "improve customers' and owners' engagement with the brand," he said. Also, the company is not accessing dealer data itself; instead showrooms are asked to enter the info into JLR's database.
The upcoming line of compact 3 Series-fighters from Jaguar, often referred to as the Jaguar XS, could consist of a sedan, wagon and possibly a coupe and GT model (think BMW 5 Series GT). The car's all-aluminum architecture also will provide the basis for two new sports utility vehicles. Just how important is the much-touted "baby Jag" project to parent company Jaguar Land Rover? A JLR executive reportedly says the brand's survival is directly linked to the success of the XS, codenamed X760, Autocar reports.
The brand's survival is directly linked to the success of the XS.
"If the X760 fails, it will probably be the end for the [Jaguar] brand," the executive says. But Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's global brand director, claims Jaguar will "build the most advanced, most efficient, most refined car in that [compact luxury sedan] segment. Not almost as good as, but better than the best in the world."