Vehicle Review: This is one fully loaded, super-sized SUV.
HOUSTON — In another small sign of how operators are diversifying their fleets, Nikko’s Worldwide Chauffeured Services recently added a Jaguar XJL to its 22-vehicle line-up.
There are only a handful of Jaguar XJLs in chauffeured transportation fleets nationwide, since competing vehicles such as the Mercedes S550 and BMW 7-series are more common in that premium vehicle category.
Why did they buy it?
“We got more requests for premium sedans and started looking into it about a year and a half ago,” said Matt Assolin, vice president of Nikko’s. “We liked the Mercedes-Benz and how it is a symbol of high class excellence. The BMW is a sportier competitor. Then this vehicle came out. We drove it, tested it, and we just felt that this car was old but new, and flashy in the right places.”
Nikko’s, whose sedan of choice is the Cadillac DTS-L, bought the Jaguar XJL for $85,000, slightly below the costs of comparable Mercedes-Benz and BMW luxury sedans, Assolin said. The XJL has an 8-cylinder, 5-litre, 390-hp engine.
“We are trying to do things that other people aren’t, trying to be different from the crowd and separate ourselves,” Assolin said. “We had been providing S550s through a rental agency but it cost me a fortune.”
What are advantages?
The Jaguar XJL has more legroom than a Mercedes S550 and BMW 7-series but less than that of a Lincoln Town Car Executive L and Cadillac DTS-L, Assolin said. “People who want a premium sedan are not as concerned about leg space as they are [about] the image of being seen getting out of a premium sedan.”
Premium vehicle stats comparison of Jaguar XJL with Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Lexus vehicles.
Among the Jaguar amenities that appealed to Nikko’s: Black leather seats, cream-colored seat trim piping, dual fold-out rear-seat desks, heated/cooled rear seats, iPod integration, bold wood and chrome trims, and new interior design. Nikko’s also provides its chauffeured clients with Fiji bottled water, mints, popular magazines, newspapers, and facial tissue.
Since Jaguar does not have an official fleet livery program like Lincoln, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota/Lexus, the XJL does not come with an extended professional vehicle warranty. The standard warranty is 5 years/100,000 miles and platinum maintenance coverage extends for 5 years/50,000 miles, Assolin said.
Jaguar XJL Motor Trend Magazine review here.
What are the financials?
Nikko’s charges $75 per hour for the Jaguar versus a base rate of $55 per hour for Cadillac DTS service. The Jaguar’s base airport rate is $125 versus $70 for the Cadillac DTS.
Assolin estimates the break-even revenue amount for the Jaguar at about $3,000 per month, which equals four 10-hour A/D runs per month at $750 each, or a minimum of 24 airports runs per month at $125 each.
“You definitely need to make sure you have the business to pay for the vehicle,” Assolin said. “We’re getting more and more requests for it and cultivating the market for it.”
Who are the clients so far?
Chauffeured clients of the Jaguar XJL include mostly private jet owners and FBO users, high net worth individuals, corporate CEOs, oil companies, and longtime loyal sedan clients, Assolin said. “People who rent these type of vehicles don’t want a Lincoln. They don’t want what everyone else has.”
Assolin chauffeured the first Jaguar client, a corporate CEO, when it went into fleet service on June 23. “He said, ‘Matt, I want you to send this car from now on. I will pay the difference,’” Assolin recalled. The client said the Jaguar is superior to his personal BMW 7-series. “That’s what I wanted to hear.”
Assolin said such a vehicle purchase was unthinkable just two years ago at the depths of the recession, but business has picked up enough since then to justify premium fleet vehicles.
Going forward, Nikko’s plans to use the vehicle in its marketing efforts and court potential luxury hotels as clients, a market segment that Nikko’s has not been involved with since the 1980s, Assolin said.
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor
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