A new home for Jaguar and Land RoverBy Alvin Uy |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Last Thursday marked the formal opening of the Jaguar/Land Rover/Range Rover Lifestyle and Activity Center in Bonifacio Global City, located at the corner of 32nd St. & 4th Avenue, Crescent Park West, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. The occasion also marked the 15th anniversary of Jaguar/Land Rover Philippines. This milestone year is a testament to the commitment for the people behind both marques in the local automotive industry. Dubbed as the “Great Leap Forward” inaugural event for its flagship showroom, the building was recently transformed from a tire dealership hub to house some of the country’s most prestigious luxury auto brands.
The brands’ entry into the market was a precarious one, considering the year 1997 signaled the start of the Asian financial crisis, wiping off the record gains enjoyed by the previous year in the local auto industry. With a fiscal deficit hitting P49.981 billion in 1998 from a surplus of P1.564 billion in 1997, the peso fell to an average of P40.89 per US dollar from its previous rate of P29.47 to a dollar. Despite numerous business challenges, the Soong family, led by patriarch and company president Wellington “Willie” Soong was able to lead the company through the initial years to where the company is now.
“Making this significant decision is the product of being in the business for 15 years and thus becomes a big challenge for the group. We have to move to a bigger facility due to the increasing number of the brands. Making this significant decision is fundamentally driven by space, and we are lucky to have the chance to have an area which gives us the visibility and prominence for the brands! This move will only signify a greater commitment to our clients and like what I have always said… when we close a sale, it is not the end of a transaction, instead, it signals the start of a long term relationship,” said Soong.
Considered as one of the biggest facilities of the brand in the Asia-Pacific region, the transfer to the new site took a lot of meticulous planning and renovation of the existing building that previously housed a popular tire company. As one of the leading marques in the luxury car business, Jaguar takes a poise to leap to new heights and is complemented by the presence of another automotive British icon—the Land Rover and Range Rover. Its tagline “Best 4 x 4 x far” is an apt description to the world’s most versatile all-terrain vehicle, where these cars are not only spotted in some of the country’s rough 4×4 trailing sites but also in posh establishments in and out of the metro.
“The acquisition of the brands through time, encapsulate the desire and passion of the group in bringing in the greatest brands to our market,” added Soong. “Bringing these brands all together in one roof will only strengthen the fact that we would only want to offer the best among the premium brands. We are proud to welcome you to the newest destination, our new home, the Jaguar/Land Rover/Range Rover Lifestyle Centre to experience some of the world’s finest premium luxury motoring brands.”
With the entry of these brands, the BGC area has become a major hub for luxury European and Japanese automotive brands. The strategic relocation of the Jaguar/Land Rover showroom has likewise stiffened up the competition of providing a conducive and a proper buying environment, where its customers can relax and make their purchase decisions in privacy and comfort. The company is also offering a zero percent interest payment plan for its various makes and models as a promotion to its loyal and new customers.
75 Years of the Leaping Cat
Last year, Jaguar celebrated 75 years of automotive history and began life as Jaguar Cars Ltd., better known simply as Jaguar, which was originally founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company by Sir William Lyons in 1922 together with William Walmsey, originally making motorcycle sidecars before evolving into passenger cars. The “SS” stood for Swallow Sidecar but double “S” initials left a very sour note during the post-World War II days so the company name was changed in favor of Jaguar.
By 1966, Jaguar merged with the British Motor Corporation to form British Motor Holdings. After merging with Leyland, the company then became the British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968. It was nationalized in 1975 and the company became British Leyland Ltd. In the 1970s the Jaguar and Daimler marques formed part of British Leyland’s specialist car division known as the Jaguar Rover Triumph Ltd. Jaguar was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was acquired by Ford in 1989.
Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director, said: “Jaguar design over the next 75 years must respect and reflect on the past 75 while continuing to push boundaries of technology, luxury and sporting style. Designing cars with a presence that demands a turn of the head and an allure that pulls at the heart has been central to the Jaguar brand throughout the years. A successful piece of design should stand the test of time, holding its own through passing fashions. Jaguar has a range of cars that are as iconic today as they were when launched—testament to Jaguar’s legacy in creating beautiful fast cars. Looking at the present with the XK, XF and all-new XJ and with an eye on the future, we will continue to innovate and set the benchmark, not only in automotive design, but in luxury premium design as a whole.” Last year, the all-new XJ model was launched in the country and has become one of the brand’s bestsellers.
Going 4×4 in 2004
By 2004, the Soong family added Land Rover in its line-up and since then has developed fiercely loyal Rover enthusiasts. With a strong local brand following and a very active local Land Rover club that the company supports, it has constantly promoted these vehicles for off-road use. The Land Rover club is also actively competing in international races like the Rainforest Challenge with very good results. This makes Land Rover a very desirable and capable off-road SUV while its more refined cousin the Range Rover offers similar capabilities with a more luxurious cabin and creature comforts. It is the only locally distributed brand that officially supports a 4×4 racing team for international competitions. Such commitment to the brand reassures Land Rover enthusiasts years of passionate ownership experience and enables its owners to fully utilize their SUV’s on-road and off-road.