Sunday, April 02, 2006

Women CEO of Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo of Korea

This was quite a pleasant surprise--a women CEO of Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo Korea. If fact, it makes perfect sense since one of the important buyer groups in Korea is women. This is a new trend in a county where men once dominated the purchase of cars. More recently, carmakers including Hyundai-Kia have begun to wisely focus on women buyers--the new Sonata, for example, has a number of features that cater to women.

Korea Time

Nowadays, it is not hard for passers-by to see German and Japanese cars on the streets of Seoul's upscale areas in Apkujong-dong or Sinsa-dong, south of the Han River. [ see some of my earlier posts on the Korean luxury cars market.]

Sometimes, the number of Hyundai Motor's Sonatas or Grandeurs look smaller than that of BMW or Toyota sedans in the parking lots of Hyundai Department Store in Apkujong-dong or Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Yoksam-dong.

For the wealthy and those who are ready to pay to get noticed, picking a car can be a challenge.

BMWs and Lexus sedans are no longer eye-catching foreign cars here, Lee Hyang-lim, CEO of Jaguar & Land Rover Korea said in an interview with The Korea Times.

But Jaguar can be a model for those who want to be noticed, she said. Jaguars are, originally, a brand not for a lot of people but a chosen few. Lee said that low sales of Jaguars in Korea don't discourage her.

We are targeting prestige. [ Prestige and status go hand-in-hand in Korea].

Lee believes the Jaguar, with its unique and beautiful design, is for people who want to buy a different car.

While a majority of BMW and Lexus premium sedan buyers are business owners and their wives, aged over 50 years, many of the Jaguar buyers are relatively young.

We are performing target marketing to consumers in their 30s and 40s working in specialized fields and trying to add value to individuality and style, Lee stressed.

Asked about the British carmaker's strategies here, she said the Korean market is one of the main targets of Jaguar. She said Jaguar Korea is one of the most active players in market activity among 21 imported automobile brands here.

Lee, who was born in 1961 in Seoul, is the first female CEO in the nation's imported automobile industry. She is the concurrent CEO of Jaguar Korea, Land Rover Korea and Volvo Car Korea _ three major European units of U.S. Ford Motor.

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