Take a former racing driver, a passion for beautiful car brands and a head for business, mix this all together with a real customer focus and a flair for innovation, and there you have the identikit of Jean-Michel Martin, CEO of the Jaguar Land Rover Brus- sels automotive group.
Since 1993, it has been made up of several dealerships: BMW in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and Anderlecht, and MINI in Zaventem. The group gradually boosted its presence in the west and east of Brussels by expanding its portfolio of brands with the opening, in 2011, of a Jaguar Land Rover dealership in Zaventem and the acquisition, in late 2015, of the JLR businesses in Drogenbos and Waterloo. All the dealerships are very easy to reach thanks to their strategic positions close to the Brussels Ring, so there’s no need to venture into the city centre - an advantage that resulted from a deliberate choice.
AT THE CUTTING EDGE
The BMW and MINI businesses have now been transferred, but in addition to these JLR dealerships in Zaventem, Drogenbos and Waterloo, the chain also has two bodywork centres and a used car outlet which sells only its brands. “I chose these brands because I wanted to invest in premium brands that are not only known for their aesthetic qualities and exceptional performance, but which are also at the cutting edge of technological progress”, explains the manager, who also points out the mythical status of Land Rover and the innovation capabilities of Jaguar.
After 20 years of stability, the motor industry has had to contend with huge changes over the last three or four years. “Several factors are involved”, explains Arnaud Geurts, Operations Manager at the Waterloo dealership. “On the one hand, there’s the aspirations of new generations which are growing all the time, and then there’s the environment that’s changed. For example, changes in terms of taxation and the electrification of the market - these are all challenges for the public, for brands and for distributors, but they’re very exciting ones.”
A WINNING TRIO
The three dealerships all guarantee exactly the same level of sales and after-sales service thanks to the twenty or so staff employed in each. How- ever, they each have their own special emphasis. With its geographical location, Zaventem is more corporate and business-oriented, while the man- agers at Drogenbos describe their dealership as a ‘one-stop-shop’, with a ‘special vehicles’ depart- ment. At Waterloo, it’s the local and family-friendly aspect which is paramount.
“Personalised contact with our customers is hugely important to us: we’re not just here to sell cars”, explains Jean-Michel Martin’s daughter, Lauren Martin, who has joined the group’s marketing and communications department. “We’ve set up customer panels so we can ask our customers to evaluate our dealerships and the after-sales service they provide.”
Customised service and the human aspect are not empty words in this company where the boss, and all his employees, have always been keen to em- brace renewal.