Business / Auto China

Ambitions to be number 1 at Chery Jaguar Land Rover

By Zhang Zhao (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-23 07:07

Ambitions to be number 1 at Chery Jaguar Land Rover
Chris Bryant, president of Chery Jaguar Land Rover.

With a joint venture plant in Changshu, Jiangsu province, set to start operation in the fourth quarter of the year, Chery Jaguar Land Rover is aiming to become the "No 1 player" in China's premium car market - in product quality and customer experience, said its top executive.

Chris Bryant, president of the joint venture, said that while JLR is a smaller brand, it "has been able to deploy itself successfully for some time and that will continue to be the case".

"To be the number one premium automotive manufacturer does not mean we have to be number one in terms of volume, or cost or deliveries," said Bryant. "It means we want to be considered the very preferred choice over the whole business context."

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He said that JLR has "committed to localizing in China with the local suppliers", but will introduce the standards and processes that it uses for its supplies worldwide to guarantee the same quality for all JLR consumers.

"The important thing is not the percentage of localization," he said. "It is making sure that we pick high-quality suppliers that can deliver on the expectations for quality we have on all of them."

He said that it is equally important for both the automaker and its partners to establish businesses in China that are "sustainable into the future".

The first vehicle from the joint venture will carry the Jaguar or Land Rover brand. The joint venture will then roll out its own-brand vehicles that meet the same standards and processes of Jaguar Land Rover.

More than a manufacturing base, the new company will have an R&D center focusing on powertrain systems. JLR recently announced a new family of engines for JLR vehicles in China.

The joint venture will also put resources onto developing new-energy car technologies.

Its sales network will start to work before the first new products are launched and work separately from the existing JLR network, but use the same dealers.

Bryant said the two sales networks will "collaborate closely on the strength of both the joint venture company and the JLR sales company and make sure we provide the customers with the experience they would expect when they go to buy JLR products".

Founded in November 2011, Chery Jaguar Land Rover is a 50-50, 10.9 billion yuan ($1.76 billion) joint venture that plans to have production capacity of 130,000 vehicles a year at build out.

Chery Jaguar Land Rover said the Changshu plant marks "a big step" for JLR in its global expansion as its first overseas joint venture that fully manufactures vehicles outside the United Kingdom. It is also the first joint venture for domestic automaker Chery.

Bryant said what Chery will get is "a learner's experience on how JLR operates and understands the quality control processes, standards and the way that JLR will build brands".

More than 95,000 JLR vehicles were sold last year in China, an increase of 30 percent over 2012. Bryant said "China is a dynamic market and we will continue to grow healthily in the future using the strength of JLR brands".

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