Not too long ago, Porsche excused itself from the Canadian autoshow circuit for a couple of years, deciding to invest its event budget in customer experience events instead. While critics, myself included, questioned the move, the result was exponential sales growth for the performance luxury brand.
Jaguar has chosen to take a similar approach in Canada, creating a massive road show experience called the Art of Performance Tour, while continuing to take part in the auto show circuit. Essentially, they are getting bums in seats, exposing potential brand converts to Jaguar (and Land Rover) products in most spectacular fashion.
The event begins with a short briefing session where guests receive a short history lesson on the Jaguar brand, an overview of the current product line and a glimpse into the future. During this presentation, the Porsche brand is actually mentioned as an example of why Jaguar now offers an SUV type vehicle called the F-Pace.
Despite the moaning of purists, Porsche has developed a pair of SUVs which are among the most popular sporty versions of the niche. Most importantly, the popularity of the German automaker’s utility vehicles means more funds to develop the company’s high performance fleet. More money means more toys.
The media visit to the Art of the Performance Tour was unique in that we visited the event alongside actual consumer guests, rather than being sent off on our own. It was great fun seeing somebody other than the usual, jaded auto journalist types at an event, because there was actual excitement in the eyes of many participants!
The herd of guests leave the presentation space and are brought to an area with a collection of industrial looking ramps and platforms have been erected and loaded into the waiting Land Rover Discovery SUVs. Instructors from Land Rover Canada’s Off Road Experience centre in Montebello, Quebec, then take the participants for the most hair-raising ride that they are ever likely to have at 2 km/h. While few buyers will ever drive their Land Rover over anything more challenging than a cottage road, the reality is that every Land Rover is incredibly capable and this display gives riders a taste of what these trucks can do.
From there, we make our way to a short autocross course where guests can put a new Jaguar F-Pace through its paces themselves, proving that a vehicle can offer both utility AND performance!
The highlight for most comes in the form of a true thrill ride in a thundering Jaguar F-Type SVR, piloted by one of a team of legit racing drivers headed up by Canadian racing legend Robin Buck. For those who have never experienced a world class sports car at full chat, this ride is mind blowing!
To round out the day, participants get back behind the wheel of a Jaguar XE to take a turn around the company’s ultra cool Smart Cone set-up, which had previously been seen at the Invictus Games in Toronto, where Prince Harry even had a go at the course. Drivers are urged to navigate the course smoothly and carefully, as it changes each time with the direction being indicated by flashing blue and green lights atop course pylons. It is actually a lot of fun!
The absolute easiest way to sell a great product is to allow the potential consumer to truly experience that product doing what it does. When the product is great, it will literally sell itself.
Jaguar is on a roll in recent years, since being bought by Indian company Tata, which has injected the capital needed to develop products which are truly great. This new push to bring the experience to the people so to speak might be just what the company needs to take on the larger players in the sports luxury niche. The cars really do sell themselves!
From Toronto, The Art of Performance Tour heads west for dates in Edmonton and Vancouver. Click here to learn more.