Rich & Ready: What Jamaica’s Range Rover Evoque Sales Says about the Market

Range Rover Evoque

The initial order of Range Rover Evoque models virtually sold out in Jamaica before a single vehicle landed in the island last week.

That’s a big deal!  Sure the Evoque comes at a relatively low price tag in the Range Rover line – around J$7.5 million. Sure that’s just about the same price as a Toyota Prado. Sure the country is flooded with Prado’s and even the more expensive Range Rovers that (last year) were starting at about J$12.3 million.

I think however that for 14 vehicles at that price could go so quickly – in a recession! – says certain things about consumers in Jamaica. I think there are lessons here that should invigorate and direct would-be investors and savvy entrepreneurs.

I have six points, each building on the last as I share what I believe is the critical lesson from the successful sales of the Evoque in Jamaica:

1.  There is Money in Jamaica

Not just money, lots of money. However way you want to spin it, the vast majority of Americans cannot afford to lease, much less purchase a Range Rover. Yet somehow with the additional costs of freight, customs, storage and dealer fees – essentially doubling the cost of luxury vehicles – the vehicles are still in high demand.

2.  The Money is Available

The money is not just here, but tied up as some would want to suggest. No the money is free, divorced from all significant interests, unmarried, with no chick nor child to care for. How else do you explain the liberty with which so many people (and they can all be “druggist”) can spend on extraordinarily luxury items?

 3. People Would Spend and Will Spend When They See Something Worth Spending On

The free and available money is like Harvard MBA Miss Jamaica Universe (who actually won the international Miss Universe title). As unapproachable and prized as she may be, the right guy can move her – in fact, she’ll make the effort to call him.

The same is obviously true here: seeing an item they thought worthy, the people contacted ATL and bought the fleet. There was no need to pressure, prod or manipulate with politics. The product spoke.

 4. People in Jamaica (and no doubt, the Caribbean) Will Give You Their Money If You Offer Them Quality

This is the same point I will make in critiquing the well meaning but philosophically misguided Buy Jamaican Campaign (In MoneyMaxMondays Next Week):

“If you build it well, they will come.” “If you build it well, they will buy.”

There is no doubt the Range Rover Evoque is a masterfully built statement of quality. The 2012 Evoque is Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year. As if that were not enough, the interior of the vehicle has been designed by Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.  The unmatched Land Rover standard coupled with the touch of exquisite fashion (plus the benefit of everybody thinking you’re really cool), makes a statement.

You don’t need an MBA to recognize the entrepreneurial lessons here – if you intend to succeed you need to offer something that without a doubt, the people WANT.

 5. It means then that the term “risky business” is most likely a description of your product than anything else.

There are many who would have approached the import and sale of a luxury car like the Evoque with great fear – wondering if it will sell. And there is good reason for that.

Try importing a fleet of 2011 Smart Fortwo’s and let us know how soon you sell them and for how much.

Hopefully you have not exchanged the word “quality” in this article for “expensive.” What matters is not the cost of your product but what it offers.

The fact is:

  • High quality weed – the one from Westmoreland apparently – even with all the legal ramifications attached to it, always has sales.
  • Some time ago, for a very long time, selling “white Deportee” motorcars was always good business.
  • People in Jamaica while sweating and cursing will wait in inordinately long lines for a patty. People in Trinidad will do the same for doubles.

Why?

Well the Westmoreland weed, the white deportee motorcar, the Jamaican patty, the Trinidadian doubles and the Range Rover Evoque, despite their varying costs and markets have something in common. Each of the products has something the market wants badly because each of the products meet a sincere need of the market.

That kind of business, is safe, secure and profitable.

Are you a entrepreneur? How has the public been responding to your product(s)?  Can you relate in any way with the lessons outlined here?

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Andrew Wildes (@AndrewWildes), a law student, journalist and aspiring author. Read more about Andrew at MaximizeMyLife.

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