April 2015 | Sangeeta Menon
'Will deliver 12 significant product actions in next 12 months'
Dr Ralf Speth, managing director, Jaguar Land Rover, says the company’s success over the years has been based on its penchant for innovation and investing in the future.
Innovation has been a cornerstone in the second coming of JLR. What are the challenges involved in keeping this fire burning?
Innovation and the relentless quest for new technologies make our products exceptional. Innovation is at the heart of everything we do and a customer-centric mind-set drives our creativity and innovation. There are so many areas where each and every one of us in the organisation has the opportunity to do something different or better for the customer. We bring something singular to the automotive industry, with a unique blend of British engineering creativity and British design.
JLR has been investing heavily in expanding its global reach. How has the company gone about this and what benefits have been garnered?
Last year was a pivotal one for us. We opened two new factories, one in Britain and one in China, and started construction on a third in Brazil. We also introduced new vehicles through our local assembly facility in India.
JLR is realising its ambitions to create a global manufacturing footprint. We are still in the relatively early stages of our global expansion plans, but the benefits are clear. Our philosophy is to deliver experiences that our customers love for life; investing in our manufacturing footprint will help us to achieve this.
What are the opportunities and challenges in front of JLR in the coming months and years?
Looking ahead, we will deliver 12 significant product actions in the next 12 months alone and 50 product actions over the next five years. The challenges in 2015 will be tough. Externally, the geopolitical issues are challenging, with economies around the world in fragile condition. We can be sure we will face tougher legislative requirements for our products and our operations. Competition will be fiercer than ever and changes will take place at a quicker pace.
Our big and premium competitors have the scale and resulting economies this brings, deep pockets and brand power. In the circumstances, we can make 'being small and special' a competitive advantage. Also in 2015, we have to make fundamental, critical decisions for the future.