[INTERVIEW] Nicola Clarke: her look at the African luxury market

Luxury Mauritius made a quick trip to Port Elizabeth, South Africa to meet Nicola Clarke, the Public Relations Manager for Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa. The launching of Jaguar’s rst SUV, the All New Jaguar F-PACE was a chance to talk premium cars and the African luxury market.

Rising 5.6% a year, Africa’s luxury retail sales may reach $5.2 billion by 2019. Another estimate: The number of African millionaires is said to rise 53% to 258,000 by 2024. Luxury Mauritius was invited to Port Elizabeth to interview Nicola Clarke, for the launch of Jaguar’s first SUV, the All New Jaguar F-PACE. Clarke shares her thoughts on the company’s presence in Africa and Mauritius, the opportunities for growth in emerging markets and the challenges of negotiating an un-penetrated retail environment.

Nicola Clarke The All New Jaguar F-PACE

Define “Luxury”.

Luxury is comfortable, easy to live with.

How do you perceive the African luxury car market?

The automotive industry is challenging short term. However, long-term, it offers great opportunity for growth with a broader vehicle selection for the consumers and a variety of retail offers.

Who is buying these luxury cars?

The African consumer is very knowledgeable about the luxury goods market, incredibly discerning. Our customer base is well- travelled and used to seeing a broad selection of luxury cars. We handle a number of special orders as well.

“It’s all about seizing the good opportunities, and they are numerous!”

What is essential when tapping into a promising albeit unpenetrated luxury market like Africa?

Mostly it is about maximizing opportunities through solid partnerships with partners who can invest, employ and train local talent. It is about expanding across the continent with increasing focus on customer experience. We are present in 11 countries and still focused on expanding.

How are the retail sales of Jaguar Land Rover in Mauritius?

Mauritius is a good market for Jaguar Land Rover; the brands are very popular. Our market share is growing due to an increase in sales of Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport vehicles and will continue to increase with the introduction of new products on the market such as the All New Jaguar F-PACE.

What is your strategy for the Mauritian luxury market?

Again, it is important to have a solid partner. Our partner in Mauritius, Axess, continues to invest in facilities and people.

What can we take away from Nicola Clarke’s insight?

Partnerships are key. Tapping into an emerging market through a well-known local partner builds brand awareness and is key to a profitable investment. But above all, it is about being a visionary. It is about focusing on opportunity in the face of adversity. And yes, when in Africa, getting around in a vehicle that maps out its own roads helps.

Interview by Dany Gowsee