OpenRoad’s latest store, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Langley, held its grand opening this past Thursday with a splashy debut of two products that go on sale next month: the Jaguar XE sports sedan and the F-PACE luxury crossover. Making the trip out was JLR Canada’s new president Wolfgang Hoffmann, who joins the company after finishing a recent stint as president of Audi Canada. We sat down with him to chat about his current role, the Langley dealership and, of course, cars.
Is there anything you can share about the building?
Hoffmann: We have a new dealership design concept called “ARCH.” When you look from the outside you can see the arches from the windows. It’s now a concept being rolled out worldwide, and this is the first one in North America.
I think it’s key both brands now have their own showrooms under one roof. Modern luxury — that’s what you feel when you come in because the cars are great. They’re beautiful, luxurious, and the dealerships have to reflect that.
How are you adjusting to your new role? It’s been a couple of months?
Hoffmann: Exactly two months. I joined on the seventh of March. There’s always a learning curve as you need to understand the business, but in my case it’s easier because I know Canada, I know the luxury market and obviously I’ve always looked at Jaguar Land Rover as the competitor so I have an outside view of it.
You need to get to know your team, the strengths and weaknesses and you need to talk to the dealers to understand where their problems are. You need to understand the financials, the network, where the opportunities are and then you put your game plan together. At the moment I’m still in the listening phase, listening to my people and also trying to identify what bothers them and try wherever I can to help them.
Why did JLR choose to release their first ever Jaguar SUV now?
Hoffmann: Because we all realized Jaguar has a lot of brand equity, and the brand can support way more models than what we have at the moment. You could argue in each segment there could be a Jag, no? And I think of course when you do it, you have to be true to one thing: your brand’s DNA. For us that means building sporty cars no matter if it’s an SUV or if it’s a sedan.
What do you drive?
Hoffmann: I drive [an F-TYPE]. I love it. People still look at you and go “What’s that?“ It’s a great car, and if you look at the F-PACE it has so many features from the F-TYPE. For the designers to take that idea and really make an SUV out of it, I think they did a fantastic job.
Hoffmann: I saw the E-TYPE out there, one of my favourite cars when I was a little boy. I had a Matchbox toy at home, an E-TYPE in white and red leather. Well, plastic (laughs). What a car with that long hood. When I see it now, oh man, I would love to have one. It’s such a beautiful car.