CAIRO: During unstable economic times, companies constantly need to revise their business strategies and customize their approach to each market.
This is no less true for the automotive industry, which has seen a slowdown since the economic crisis.
For a premium brand like Jaguar, the way to cope with the slowdown has been to look at each market separately and propose the appropriate solutions and strategies. Mark Eedle, sales director of Jaguar Middle East and North Africa, sat down with Daily News Egypt on the sidelines of last week’s Automech Akhbar Al-Youm automotive exhibition to discuss the local market and Jaguar’s future plans.
Daily News Egypt: How do you see Egypt’s automotive market, particularly for Jaguar?
Mark Eedle: I think everybody is having a tough time at the moment because of the global crisis. The last six to eight months, across the [Middle East] region and the world, have been rough and we’ve had to adapt very quickly to the changing conditions.
We have seen across the region, including Egypt, that the economic crisis hit at different times, different speeds and with a different impact, but we were able to act quickly.
One of the successes we saw in the first quarter of 2009 is a 6 percent increase than the first quarter of 2008.
What is the breakdown for the different MENA markets?
Some markets went up, for example, Saudi Arabia. Egypt stayed at about the same level of 2008, bearing in mind that sales in 2008 more than doubled over 2007.
They [Jaguar’s Egypt team] set themselves a high standard last year, and to repeat that again, or to get [results] very close to quarter one of 2008 even with the global crisis, shows how hard MTI worked to maximize sales opportunities.
Still, there is no denying that this is a very tough market, that we are all expecting the year to finish not as well as last year
How did you react quickly?
In good times, we work in the market on a broad style. In rougher times – and that’s what we started doing last year – we [deal with] markets on a more specific level to help maximize sales under their specific circumstances.
In Egypt, we sat down with MTI and asked what happened in their market and how do they propose we help.
What strategies have you implemented?
As a premium brand, we don’t cut price. What we do is present added value to customers, we can come up with promotions, etc. We tailored solutions to each market and constantly talk to [our agents] to see if the program is working, how we can refine it.
Under normal circumstances, we revised programs each quarter, but in the current market, we revise the situation every month to see how [marketing and sales] are performing.
Jaguar in Egypt offered free maintenance services for between three to four years. In Saudi and the United Arab Emirates, customer can get free maintenance services and free insurance for one year. We may offer accessories packages in other markets.