Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed it will move to an agency model by 2024.

Speaking to Auto Retail Agenda, Rawdon Glover, MD of Jaguar Land Rover UK, said: “Jaguar Land Rover UK will transition to a ‘direct to customer’ agency model by 2024. This will improve customer experience and optimise on and offline touch points. Our digital transformation is designed to elevate our iconic brands to the levels of modern luxury determined by our Reimagine strategy.”

Auto Retail Agenda understands the retail network was told about the plans at a recent online investors meeting.  Agency contracts have yet to be issued and the current franchised retailer agreements remain in place.

However, the company told the network it would be cutting franchised retailers’ margin on new cars by one point from the start of 2023. The reduction will cover the costs of moving to an agency agreement – a year ahead of the switch away from franchised agreements.

Franchised Retailer Reaction

At the meeting, JLR not only discussed the agency model for new cars, but also sounded retailers out about the possibility of including used cars. However, this is understood to have been more about judging retailer reaction than included in the main plan for new cars.

One source said: “Clearly that’s the way they’re going for new cars. They’re looking at used cars, but I think that was to gauge reaction which wouldn’t be good if they went that way.”

Agency Sales Model

The cut in margin was not taken well by the network either. One retailer reported feeling “demoralised” after the meeting. Retailers who spoke to Auto Retail Agenda said the margin cut would be used by JLR to fund customer-facing staffing at the manufacturer rather than to cover the increased stocking cost the manufacturer would face when it switches to an agency sales model.

Franchised retailers report profits from Defender and the new range Range Rover are good but are also worried by the lack of future product plans under the Arch Concept for Jaguar.