Land Rover Discovery 4Land Rover Discovery 4


Jaguar Land Rover: We must fix our reliability if we’re to make brands a success

  • Jaguar Land Rover director admits quality needs to be improved 
  • Brands’ cars are notoriously unreliable and it realises luxury buyers expect more
  • Boss says move away from a drive for volume will allow firm to slow down to focus on quality 

Time 9:00 am, June 2, 2023

Jaguar Land Rover has admitted it must fix its unreliability issues if it’s to make its bold new sales strategy a success.

In an admission that its cars had not been as reliable as it had hoped, the British car maker said this could have come as a result of the firm chasing big sales volumes in the past.

The car maker is now switching focus to selling less cars at fixed prices and setting up its dealerships in a ‘House of Brands’ style.

These will sell Range Rover, Defender, Discovery and Jaguar models in their own spaces.

In a briefing with Car Dealer yesterday, the manufacturer laid out its plans to cut the number of dealers it has, move to fixed pricing for new car sales and switch away from being a volume player to focus on being a luxury car maker.

Andrew Woolliscroft, client care director for Jaguar Land Rover, admitted that the huge transformations the brand will be undergoing will be a ‘challenge’ – and said they won’t be a success unless it fixes its reliability issues.

‘We cannot deliver on our modern luxury strategy without quality products and quality services,’ he told Car Dealer.

‘It just won’t work – so there is an immense amount of pressure.’

Jaguar Land Rover models are notoriously unreliable and its car dealerships are often incredibly busy with warranty work.

The firm’s cars also regularly top unreliability surveys. In September, the What Car? Reliability Survey found the Discovery (2017-present) to be the most unreliable car in the UK.

Woolliscroft said he wants customers to be able to switch focus to enjoying their cars rather than fixing them.

He said he believes reliability issues ‘have improved’, explaining that since 2020 warranty repairs for the car maker’s latest models have ‘reduced by a third’. But he admitted there were still improvements to be made.

Woolliscroft said: ‘I feel like I can’t really talk about the ownership space without talking about quality – and there’s a huge amount to do in this space.

‘It’d be really naive of me to talk about it without thinking about getting our own house in order first. 

‘We know our quality is not yet at the level where we can deliver that [luxury] experience, day in, day out. But we’re improving.’ 

Speaking about why reliability issues crept in to haunt the car maker in the first place, Woolliscroft said this could have been a result of the firm chasing sales.

He said: ‘One of the biggest bits for me is we’ve now been able to slow down. It hasn’t just been about volume, volume, volume, new product, new product, new product, because what that means is previously we’ve just been focused on pushing stuff through the pipe as quickly as we possibly can – stuff will then fall over.

‘We haven’t maybe been as robust as we would have wanted to be in procuring our parts – I’m not saying we pushed stuff through too quickly, but naturally, if you’re focused just on volume, it will have consequences.

‘Our previous strategy was very much volume driven. Reimagined isn’t about volume, while it’s immensely important, it’s more about quality – quality of experience, quality product, quality profit over volume, and that has allowed an absolute refocus.’

Woolliscroft said he believes that the firm has already made changes that are paying dividends and ‘every model year is better than the previous’.

 ‘It is getting better,’ he said. 

‘There’s loads of other proof points when you look to China and JD Power we are second and ahead of BMW and Mercedes. I know it’s not a UK survey, but a good indicator that the quality is now starting to be received by our clients.

‘It’s really reassuring to see that effort, that focus, that investment is all starting to pay dividends.’

Jaguar Land Rover is hoping customer service interactions in future with dealers will be more pleasant experiences and not just about fulfilling a need.

Woolliscroft said its dealers will play a big part in this and will help when it comes to identifying faults quickly so they can be resolved faster.

And the car maker said it is now more focused on making sure its cars are completely ready to launch.

He added: ‘I think for me, the biggest change is the prioritisation of quality. 

‘Now this is the number one deciding factor on whether we’re ready to launch products or not.

‘Not only is it now about are we ready to launch, the question is: Is it ready for the client to experience?

‘Those are things that are maybe really obvious. But they’re things that haven’t been there but are now.’

The JLR director admitted, though, that its car dealership workshops were ‘still full’.

He added: ‘The quality is improving. But it will take time for that to be really felt within our workshops. There’s lots and lots to do in this space, but the signs are really positive.’

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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