As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine Q4 2016 Issue
THE CFO OF JAGUAR LAND ROVER IS FEELING GOOD, WITH A STRONG NORTH AMERICAN ORGANIZATION IN PLACE AND NEW MODELS SETTING SALES RECORDS
“Luxury cars are back,” said David Chambers, Chief Financial Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, North America. “The luxury car segments were up 18 percent year over year, last year, and the Land Rover brand was the fastest-growing luxury car brand in the U.S.” Not only that, “Jaguar is really on the verge of something historic for us.”
About 75 finance executives at the Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, NJ, heard Mr. Chambers speak at the Q3 CFO Studio Magazine Reception. The British-themed event featured specialty drinks and foods like bangers and mash to showcase the heritage of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), headquartered in Coventry, England. Held outdoors under a marquee, the event also showed off 2017 models of the Jaguar F-Pace crossover; the XE, a compact sedan; and an F-Type British Design Edition in French racing blue. The 2016 Range Rover Sport SVR and SVAutobiography were also on display. Thanks to a JLR-sponsored raffle, two finance execs won a weekend’s use of a 2017 Jaguar XE and 2017 Jaguar F-Pace, respectively.
In his remarks, Mr. Chambers recounted a bit of the history of JLR from the time the two brands were sold in June 2008 by the Ford Motor Co. to Tata Motors, an India-based company. Mr. Chambers worked for Ford until the sale. “We had these two brands—one of them was actually a division of Ford Motor Co. and the other was a legal entity of Ford Motor Co.—and we had to carve them out and put them together. We had a period of time to get some of the basics together. We immediately had to get tax compliance in place. We had servicing agreements in place with Ford for a year,” he said, but after that, “we had to have an accounting organization, treasury organization, purchasing organization, etc., etc.”
Of course, this occurred during the great recession, which did not make it easy to start a new company. “What Tata Motors has done,” said Mr. Chambers, “it allowed the business to reinvest, and that’s why you see those great products that are out here today.”
Mr. Chambers said the first years of JLR, North America were about “survival — and then stabilization.” Only recently was it possible to focus on growth strategies. Now, he said, with a smile, he can finally look back and say, “Wow, that was the greatest learning experience I ever had.”