[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ollowing unveiling of the new Landrover Discovery Sport, penultimate week, at Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, MR. COSMaS MADUKA, Chairman, Coscharis Group (franchise dealer for such luxury brands as BMW, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Landrover and Ford) spoke exclusively to Motoring World’s editor-in-chief, FEMI OWOEYE, on what an automobile means to him. He also clarifies what buyers of the newly unveiled Landrover Discovery Sport should expect.
Motoring World: How do you feel about arrival of the Discovery Sports to Nigeria?
Maduka: I’m really excited to see this wonderful peace of arts here with us finally in Nigeria, because Range Rover Discovery Sports gives us opportunity to take the great market in the middle segment. Currently there is nothing like it in the segment, where it place in terms of function-ability and everything. You’ll look at it like that and see a small car, such a small car with a seven-seater a car. You look at the character of the car and what it’s capable of doing, you would know that there is nothing like that. Truly, many of us don’t appreciate what this car could do. When you get it descending at 90 degree to heaven or going up, the braking capability, it’s second to none. Today what we have done is basically for those, who truly appreciate the land Rover brand, ensuring that we would be able to take everybody along, just like in aircraft, you have first class, business class and economy class. This is economy plus, because it is affordable. Today the Access Bank and IBTC partnership with Coscharis in car financing makes it possible for everybody to drive this wonderful piece of art.
Motoring World: Personally, what does a car mean to you?
Maduka: Well, a car means a lot of things to a lot of people. My description of a car is a man interacting with a machine. A physicist would describe a car as a moving object. But for me, it’s about the relationship you have with a machine you interact with. When a car is responsive, you demand something from it, and you get it, then you are interacting with him. And that’s why I said if you are adventurous by nature, take this car off the road, it gives you everything you demand from it.
Motoring World: Have you a dream car?
Maduka: Not really, not really for now
Motoring World: What cars do you drive?
Maduka: I drive Range Rover big body; Range Rover Evogue, you know and then I drive Jaguar XJ, which is my private car, and I can give you a chauffer on one of them.
Motoring World: This new Discovery Sport seems to be quite special to you. Why?
Maduka: Of course, this model has really helped us to widen our scope. If you understand, because of the terrain in our country, very many people are moving from Sedan to 4×4 or up sitting vehicle. Today, we have several ranges. You now have the big Range Rover Autobiography. You have the big Range Rover Evoque, you have the big HSE. You now find the Range Rove Sports itself. The Discovery, main big Discovery is coming. In another one or two year, we are going to be calling you to see the baba arrive. This is the Sports of it. So this is really a full range. And today, it is about looking out for the demand and the need of the customers. Landrover has seen where the gap is and has completely filled it today. We have things to compete effectively with…I don’t want to advertise other brands.
Motoring World: From reports, this car comes with certain optional equipments and capabilities. How many of them are coming with the version you are introducing into the market?
Maduka: This car, you know, I think it is best that we sell it on the basic model, because if you try to put a whole lot of things in the car again, then you may really start moving on to Range Rover Discovery or even Range Rover Sports itself. So it’s about function-ability. You have a car that gives you everything you want in terms of driving capability and look. By the time you add rear DVD as well as all of the other stuffs, you’d take the car again out of within the range, which doesn’t make any common sense.
Motoring World: Is this basic model coming with the option of self assist parking?
Maduka: This option, I would advise you don’t need it. This option of self assist parking is good in a place like Europe. Well, it’s a good option for ladies or anyone, who normally difficult to park. So you just get down and the car park for you and also can come out by itself and then you drive out. So for ladies, who don’t know how to drive, it’s something that they can go for. But otherwise, I wouldn’t want to spend money for those options. They come with money, because it hasn’t taken away from the driving experience and capabilities. They are standard. But when you now talk of extra luxuries you want to put in the car, you can price this car so high that it would start competing with Evogue.
Motoring World: But if any of your customers wants those extras, what happens?
Maduka: Of course he or she can have them. They are optional. If you want them, you can have all of them in the car.
Motoring World: What is your target like, and how many would you aim at selling within the next one year?
Maduka: We comfortably believe that with the price of this car, for I can tell you truly, we do argue, but Landrover want to be very aggressive with this product. It’s like something they want to get customers to come and have a taste of what the Landrover looks and feels like. Then if you want to upgrade, they ask you to pay the money in order to have additional options of your choice. So they are just providing customers a catcher, something to get them on the board. So the product is fantastic. Price wise, I can say, for the first time, I doff my hat to them, that they are very competitive. Even compare the price of this vehicle with Evogue and the size, you would know you are getting a wonderful deal. Even though, some styles in Evogue you can’t find on this car, but they give you the same thing.
Motoring World: If look at the car, doesn’t it look like a stretched or extended Evogue?
Maduka: Well, in the course of the new design concept of the Land Rover brand, in which you can find that character in Evogue, you can find them on the new range Rover big body, you know, the aerodynamic shape kind of sliding down, so it’s become their designing concept. Very many people are copying them, but they’ve set a standard that others are beginning to follow.
Motoring World: Which segment of the market are you targeting with the new Discovery Sports?
Maduka: The middle class, individuals who want to stand out in the crowd, who don’t want to be missed out in the crowd. For in a crowd, if you keep a Landrover brand, you are not hidden. It doesn’t matter the model, you still stand out on yourself, so we are looking for owners of business, who drive their own business, young entrepreneurs and middle class staff, who are getting up to the managerial level and above. This product is within the range, where they can come in.