JAGUAR AT THE 2016 AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE
Kim McCullough, Vice President, Marketing, Jaguar Land Rover North America, says this past weekend’s Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance was Jaguar’s most significant yet.
Jaguar had a strong presence at this year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. How was the brand featured?
It was an important year for our Jaguar Ride and Drive program held during the concours weekend. We were introducing potential customers to our next generation of models, the all-new Jaguar XE compact luxury sport sedan and our Jaguar F-PACE performance SUV. For many, it was the first time they had seen the vehicles and we got tremendous - and extremely positive - feedback. In the two and a half days of the Ride and Drive program, we gave over 400 visitors the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the XE and a selection of F-TYPE R models.
Jaguar also featured prominently on the show field during the weekend.
Our display featured our entire 2016 model line-up, including the new XE and F-PACE which both go on sale here in North America in May. To have the F-PACE at Amelia really helped raise awareness. Over the weekend, I overheard so many people saying they were excited that Jaguar was coming out with an SUV. We even had some customers place a pre-order as soon as they got back home.
Why is the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance so important to Jaguar?
We are always looking for ways to acknowledge Jaguar’s storied past, while at the same time, presenting a modern-day view of the brand. Since founding the event back in 1996, Chairman Bill Warner has not only done a magnificent job of bringing in the automotive cream of the crop, but also the right demographic of visitors. The event provides us with a tremendous opportunity to showcase our newest models.
There was a big turnout of local classic Jaguar owners for Saturday’s Cars & Coffee at the Concours. Was that fun to see?
It is really important for Jaguar, as a brand, to have the support, enthusiasm and loyalty of its classic car owners, and it was great talking to owners who had turned out with their cars. Jaguar being part of the classic car scene acknowledges that our history is a real part of who we are today.
One car in the show was the hugely significant 1934 SS1 Walmsley Roadster. Did you know much about the car before the show?
I did not. Its history has almost been hidden over the years. It was the car William Walmsley, chairman and managing director of SS Cars - later to become Jaguar - designed and built for himself back in 1934. The very passionate New York Jaguar collector, Brian Beni, bought it and restored it to its original condition. Amelia was the car’s first and only public appearance since its restoration, and I was extremely honored to present Brian with the Jaguar of North America show award for “The Most Historically Significant Jaguar.” It is truly a wonderful car.
This was your second time as an Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance judge. How did that feel?
It was a lot of fun. Being my second year, it was a little easier this time around. I was lucky in having two great fellow judges for my class in the legendary racer, author and race commentator Sam Posey, and classic car guru and former Metropolitan Opera baritone Donald Osborne. It was wonderful to soak up a little of their knowledge while discussing these great cars.