The cats come back to Watford Jaguar
PUBLISHED: 12:27 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:51 20 February 2013
Adrian Foster talks to director Mike Dodds about the renaissance of Watford Jaguar
WHEN Watford's only Jaguar dealership put up the shutters two years ago it left a void that could only be filled by a man with total commitment to the classic English marque, like director Mike Dodds.
Hertfordshire Life caught up with Mike just three months after Watford Jaguar threw open its doors and unleashed the leaping cat on Jaguar customers and owners at a glitzy reception party at its showrooms in the Lower High Street. Still reeling from the tumultuous welcome, Mike was sanguine about the task that now lay ahead. 'We wanted to re-launch Jaguar in Watford and it made sense to re-open on the site of the original dealership.
'Our first task was to refurbish the existing building to the very latest Jaguar corporate specification, then recruit a team of staff and reacquaint ourselves with customers of the Jaguar dealership that used to occupy this site. The opening was timed to coincide with the launch of some exciting new Jaguar models, the most significant of these being the new XF, which will replace the out-going S-Type. We've already started taking deposits for this car, which is due to arrive in our showrooms next February. It is no longer a concept car and it will be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. I think the XF will be a major step forward in Jaguar's ability to compete head-on with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.'
In the meantime, there are other new Jaguar models on the way, including a facelifted X-Type due in the first quarter of next year. 'The big news is that for the first time the new X-Type will have an automatic gearbox on the diesel-engined version, which is the car that the majority of X-Type customers always wanted to buy but were unable to. Manual gearboxes aren't popular with Jaguar owners in and around Watford, who prefer economical, low-emission diesel-engined cars with auto boxes.
'What makes the Jaguar brand different from other luxury makes is that Jaguar has traditionally punched above its weight in terms of quality, value for money and sporting image. There is a tremendous amount of goodwill from the British and foreign markets towards Jaguar. I think a lot of business drivers would like to switch to Jaguar from the established German quality marques and I believe Jaguar is now in a position to compete with them.'
Article taken from September issue of Hertfordshire Life