Most sellers hold their new, unsold luxurious automobiles distant from mud pits, grime roads, deep water, jagged rocks and different issues that may probably trigger harm.
Larry Zinn isn’t most sellers.
Lengthy earlier than the market stuffed with upscale SUVs, Zinn’s Land Rover shops held yearly occasions that introduced clients into the wilderness to drive Land Rovers and Vary Rovers in rugged circumstances.
Now that the phase that Land Rover helped create within the late Forties with the unique Sequence 1 after which 40 years later with the luxurious Vary Rover is chock-full of opponents, the shops’ yearly off-road driving occasions have taken on far better significance.
“From a loyalty perspective it is tremendous vital for us. It helps hold us related with our clients, and we have now a good time collectively,” stated Zinn, 36, government normal supervisor of Miami-based Warren Henry Auto Group.
In early October, Zinn’s two Land Rover shops, Land Rover North Dade and Land Rover South Dade, staged the corporate’s annual Rover on the Rocks off-road driving occasion. The weekend program drew greater than 400 clients and a few potential consumers to a vacant lot at a mixed-use improvement referred to as Sole Mia, the place Zinn had an off-road course created to showcase the all-terrain capabilities of the automobiles his shops promote.
Within the late Eighties, when Land Rover returned to North America with the Vary Rover, sellers had been required to exhibit the car’s off-road prowess, however although Land Rover ultimately dropped that requirement, Zinn, one of many model’s authentic U.S. sellers, by no means did. And the occasion has been held every year since 1987.
Zinn will not say how a lot the corporate spends to stage Rover on the Rocks, however it’s no small affair. An organization is employed to create a difficult however secure driving course festooned with obstacles Land Rovers are designed to sort out. That features driving over logs and thru streams and rock crawling. However contributors aren’t utterly roughing it: There’s a large on-site, air-conditioned hospitality tent in addition to catered meals and a DJ together with a show of automobiles and equipment.
Prospects who purchased or leased a Land Rover or a Vary Rover, Zinn stated, can both drive their very own automobiles together with an teacher or use one of many retailer’s demonstrator automobiles.
“We attempt to construct the course to indicate [how the vehicle performs] on inclines, declines, camber turns, articulation, water pits. We actually attempt to get these automobiles by the paces. And never solely to indicate what the automobiles are able to, however to indicate the shoppers how a lot of that data is seen to them throughout the automotive with sensors, cameras and monitoring units which can be in-built and that almost all clients by no means use,” stated Zinn.
The overwhelming majority of rugged SUVs are used for on-road driving, and Land Rover’s all-terrain automobiles are not any exception. Zinn says that nearly not one of the potential consumers who go to his shops and check drive Land Rover Defenders, Vary Rovers and different fashions ask to check them off highway.
The most recent Land Rover fashions have such options as four-wheel steering, off-road cruise management, hill descent management and cameras that present a 360-degree view of the environment.
“I might say the vast majority of our clients don’t know what the automobiles are able to, and so they actually by no means use them for what their alternate function is,” Zinn stated.
“Right here in South Florida, the place it’s completely flat, they get no sense of off-roading in any respect. Except for flood on occasion, you do not get a lot expertise [driving in strenuous conditions], he stated. “It’s an eye-opening expertise for the shoppers,” Zinn stated.
“One among our associates will get within the automotive with the consumer and drive it first to provide them a lesson on the best way to make it by the course. The second time round, the consumer drives, both his personal car or certainly one of ours, with our affiliate within the passenger seat,” stated Zinn who took a number of rides with clients. He sat within the again seat and noticed how clients had been interacting with the Rover.
Zinn says there have been a number of incidents over time the place automobiles had been broken. “Naturally, that is going to occur if you find yourself off-roading. We had been lucky this time round that the occasion was inside a mile of our dealership. We convey the automobiles proper over to the store and get them repaired. It is simply a part of doing the occasion.”
To assist make the expertise much more enjoyable this yr, retailer personnel outfitted the Rovers with GoPro cameras and made movies of the shoppers’ drives that got to them after the occasion. And there have been small electrical Land Rover automobiles for youths to drive over their very own miniature off-road programs.
Zinn says Rover on the Rocks impediment course appeals equally to women and men drivers. Almost half of the drivers this yr had been girls, he stated.
About 50 of Warren Henry’s Land Rover staff workers the occasion; the shops stay open with a smaller crew in the course of the weekend.
Rover on the Rocks provides Warren Henry’s two Land Rover shops the chance to showcase the myriad equipment Land Rover has created for its automobiles.
Shows on the occasion assist increase gross sales of things like wheels, brush bars, tents and different off-road gear. Zinn stated since many attendees convey their very own automobiles, they use the chance to schedule service appointments.
The occasion additionally helps staff do their jobs higher, stated Zinn. “All people will get a possibility to drive the course. Until they’re going on a coaching journey, they do not get an opportunity to drive these automobiles off-road, so that they get to be taught a brand new ability, which they will use to assist clients.”
Rover on the Rocks is greater than a promotional occasion for Zinn. When his father, firm CEO Warren Zinn, started them within the late ’80s, Zinn and his sister, Katy, the corporate’s retail merchandise supervisor, attended as kids.
Zinn stated he plans to proceed Rover on the Rocks, holding it twice a yr when attainable.
“After each occasion is over, we regroup and put our learnings collectively of what we did that was nice, what we might do higher and any concepts going ahead,” Zinn stated.
For many years, Land Rover and Jeep dominated the marketplace for go-anywhere, off-road automobiles, and the luxurious Vary Rover had no actual competitors.
That, after all, has modified, and the Vary Rover particularly is seeing increasingly opponents inch onto its turf, as different luxurious manufacturers akin to Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Maserati and Cadillac roll out six-figure SUVs.
Rover on the Rocks helps hold Zinn’s clients from drifting away.
“Now we have clients who drive a particular Land Rover, and so they’ll see we have now a distinct mannequin,” Zinn stated. “They get a possibility to drive that automotive and take it off-roading. Many occasions, they’re going to say: ‘That is what I get subsequent.’ ”