9th November 2012
Eterniti has been careful to create a proposition which differentiates it from other specialist and boutique carmakers.
Eterniti is unique in being based in London. Not only is the UK home to many of the most revered luxury car brands, and best engineers and craftsmen, but London is a world economic capital. It is where the world’s wealthy and influential converge.
The company will not only try to meet the demand for higher levels of luxury, bespoke specifications and exclusivity, but is aiming to produce vehicles with British engineering, craftsmanship and soul running through them.
Eterniti’s London hub will provide a physical presence in the city and a place where customers can easily talk to the company in person – not over the internet or through a third-party dealership. The comprehensive complex is in Park Royal, North-West London – the historical home of the great coachbuilder Mulliner Park Ward - with a showroom, atelier, service centre and car build facility.
Atelier and Build
The facilities will allow customers to discuss their requirements with sales personnel and trim experts to create a unique specification. In the atelier they can choose from a wide spectrum of body colours and trim options, ranging from traditional leathers and woods to state-of-the-art materials like clear carbon. Or they can specify whatever their imaginations can dream up - if they want platinum or gem stones then Eterniti will fulfil that wish. Even the standard-specification vehicles are hand-built on-site by British craftsman and technicians.
The London showroom is the first of several Eterniti-owned and staffed retail outlets. The second will be at a prestigious address in Hong Kong, and a third in Taipei will then form a dual Asia-Pacific hub. Both will offer an atelier and service facilities as well as showroom and are schedule to open during summer 2013. Tokyo is set to follow. The company is aiming to have representation in numerous cities in China by 2013.
Ownership and Customer Care
With this retail structure Eterniti will be able to provide a level of customer interaction beyond what boutique car companies have previously achieved, allowing it to provide a personal service which extends from the moment a customer creates a bespoke specification throughout the lifetime of ownership.
All Eterniti vehicles will have an unlimited two-year, 100,000-mile warranty including free servicing, and UK customers will be offered finance and insurance products. Eterniti will also be able to accept customers’ trade-ins.
2. CREDENTIALS AND PEOPLE
The Eterniti team has extensive automotive industry experience in diverse but key areas – including engineering and luxury brand retailing in major markets in both Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Engineering and Motor Sport
Engineering is at the heart of the company, and the team is led by one of the automotive industry’s best engineers, Alastair Macqueen. Macqueen demonstrated his ability to create the ultimate in road cars as Chief Development Engineer for the Jaguar XJ220 supercar, developing it from early prototype to production in 1991, following which it was officially recognised as the world’s fastest road car.
In motor sport he had already engineered Martin Brundle in his epic Formula 3 title battle with Ayrton Senna before becoming Chief Engineer for TWR on the Jaguar Group C cars which won the World Sportscar Championship (WSC) in 1987 and 1988, and the Le Mans 24-Hour classic in 1988 and 1990. He then established Toyota as winners in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) - with the racing version of the Carina E road car - as well as the WSC before steering Team Bentley to a one-two at Le Mans in 2003 for a hat-trick of personal outright victories. He has since demonstrated his remarkable versatility as run engineer for the JCB diesel world land speed record car which set a new benchmark of over 350mph in 2006 and secured the record for Britain.
Macqueen has an extraordinary endorsement from Mercedes Benz Grand Prix’s Ross Brawn, the technical guru who emerged at Jaguar before first guiding Michael Schumacher to F1 world championships at Benetton and Ferrari, and then Jenson Button at his eponymous F1 team. Brawn credits Macqueen for enabling the strategic genius for which he has become legendary. “I was lucky because I walked into Jaguar and there was a whole team of guys who were used to strategic racing. Alastair Macqueen was the strategy guy at Jaguar, a very clever guy who had years of experience... I was able to pick it up from Alastair very quickly and that really was my first exposure to it.”
The Eterniti engineering and testing programmes have been assisted by British former F1 driver Johnny Herbert. Herbert won three Grands Prix, for Benetton and the British Stewart team, including the 1995 British Grand Prix when he was team-mate to Michael Schumacher, going on to finish fourth in the championship. He also drove for Sauber, Jaguar, Lotus, Ligier and Tyrrell during a twelve-year Formula 1 career. Like Macqueen, Herbert has tasted outright victory at Le Mans, for Mazda in 1991. Since Formula 1 he has concentrated on sports cars, winning the Le Mans Series in 2004, but he returned to Jordan as Sporting Relations Manager for the Grand Prix team in 2005 and 2006, when it became Midland F1. He now works in F1 with Castrol and Sky TV.
Herbert and Macqueen have a long association – as adversaries as well as colleagues. They are both graduates of Eddie Jordan Racing, Herbert winning the British Formula 3 title for Jordan in 1987. However, Herbert came between Jaguar and a third Le Mans win when he drove the Mazda, scoring the first and only victory for a Japanese manufacturer ahead of the three Jaguars - driving “indecently fast” as Macqueen puts it. But in 2003 they were on the same side at Team Bentley, Johnny recording fastest lap and fastest stint by any of the drivers in the Bentley one-two finish.
Eterniti is working closely with a roster of key partners, many of which also have a motor sport pedigree. In 2008 Eterniti partners conceived and ran the Aston Martin Asia Cup (AMAC), the brand’s first ever one-make racing series, for race-built versions of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage called N24s. AMAC events took place throughout the Asia-Pacific region, with races in China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, including support races at the Chinese and Singapore Grands Prix.
Eterniti’s partners have also run a sports car team in Europe with considerable success. The GruppeM Racing team won the British GT Championship with a Porsche 911 RSR in its debut year, 2004. Porsche was so impressed that it asked GruppeM to run factory-supported cars internationally the following season, with remarkable results. Competing in the FIA GT2 series GruppeM not only finished first and second in the championship but won every race in the series, which included the Spa 24-hour classic. The team also won the 2005 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, a feat which it repeated in 2007. In between GruppeM ran a Ferrari 430 in FIA GT2 in 2006, scoring several wins.
Eterniti also benefits from the contribution of Tim Sugden, the company’s General Manager, who raced with GruppeM from its inception. He drove the British championship-winning GruppeM car in 2004, the runner-up car in the 2005 FIA series and the title-winning Porsche Carrera Cup Asia car in both 2005 and 2007.
Sugden has raced since the age of twelve, becoming the captain of the British karting team before progressing to single-seaters, culminating in Formula 3000. He then switched to touring cars, competing in the BTCC as a works driver for BMW, Vauxhall and Toyota, where he was engineered by Alastair Macqueen.
In 1997 he moved into sports cars, winning the British GT Championship in his first year. The following season he finished fourth overall at Le Mans in a McLaren, the highest-placed non-works car. He has since concentrated on sports cars, racing and winning all over the world, but also working as a consultant to racing teams including Prodrive and Aston Martin’s development partner JMW Motorsport.
Design & Trim
Interior design and trim is a key element of the Eterniti personalisation offering, and design and trim operations are headed by Alan Mobberley, one of the world’s most experienced car designers, who has worked within the heartlands of both the UK and USA car industries, the Midlands and Detroit.
Mobberley has been responsible for exterior designs at Jaguar, and both interiors and exteriors at PSA Peugeot-Citroen. For 20 years from 1986 he was Chief Designer, Interiors, at Land Rover, in charge of the development and evolution of the brand’s cabin design including the iconic Range Rover and the Discovery, for which he won a Design Council Award. His influence can still be seen in the latest-generation Range Rover which has just been launched to global acclaim.
Eterniti personnel have extensive experience of retailing some of the most prestigious British and European luxury and high-performance car brands, particularly in the UK and Asia-Pacific markets. The two senior sales executives at the London HQ have both have been retailing luxury cars for over 25 years.
Andrew Brown has held senior sales positions representing Ferrari and Bentley within both national sales organisation and dealership group environments. After joining Ferrari’s UK retail flagship Maranello Sales he became the Ferrari F430 Specialist, with responsibility for launch activities and customer data as well as hosting the F430 Challenge Series throughout Europe. Latterly he was the Bentley specialist at the Broughtons luxury dealer group, where he also represented Aston Martin, Spyker and Koenigsegg.
Eterniti’s other senior sales executive, Marcus Kenny, was recruited from HR Owen Rolls-Royce, the world’s most prestigious Rolls-Royce dealership, in London’s Mayfair, where he was senior sales executive. He joined the brand in 2009 to help deliver commission builds to the higher volumes demanded by the introduction of the Ghost model, having previously been with Jack Barclay Bentley in Mayfair since 2001, specialising in commission builds of the Arnage model range.
Eterniti has several key partners who also bring an important international luxury car retailing perspective and valuable experience of the Asia-Pacific region, having set up two of China’s first Porsche dealerships and then, in 2008, its first ever Aston Martin importership, to officially establish the brand in the country.
3. BUSINESS CASE
Eterniti knows that the automotive industry has seen many small car companies fail. However, its business case is founded on sound principles.
Eterniti is not launching a with 350kph supercar pipedream. The company’s strategy is to exploit an expanding area of the automotive market, super and ultra-luxury vehicles, where there are high profit margins, and its first product is focused on a specific gap in that market – for luxury SUVs. This has great potential, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region but also in the Middle-East, Russia, South America, world capitals like London and hot-spots such as the Cote d’Azur, Florida and the USA’s west coast.
In addition Eterniti has identified a specific demand for an SUV with additional rear legroom to make it suitable for both chauffeuring and driving, so it has provided that as standard, allowing it to exploit this segment in a more targeted and effective way.
Eterniti has not tried to create a car from the ground up. A new, independent company could never invest in R&D on the same level as the major OEMs, which are predominantly part of large groups with huge resources and economies of scale. So the Artemis is based on an existing platform – VW Group’s latest-generation large SUV platform - with ample technical proficiency and proven engineering integrity. Investment has been focused on the areas of the car which will provide a USP and best meet the needs of the market.
This strategy also allows Eterniti to create the Super-SUV niche by bringing the car to market ahead of competitors from the major OEMs. Eterniti has first-mover advantage, with deliveries commencing in early 2013. However, the company knows it that it will not be able to compete absolutely head-on with the likes of Bentley when it launches its SUV, projected for 2015. Production capacity and a powerful brand with a decade of heritage make that unrealistic.
Nevertheless, Eterniti can compete in ways which are significant in the high-luxury segments. By definition its lower volumes mean that its products will be more exclusive. That also allows a more personal service to be provided, which is valued by wealthy customers. Eterniti’s size means that it will be able to react swiftly to customer requirements, and because it is not burdened by a large corporate culture or a century-old history it can provide precisely what individual customers demand. The company’s independence will be appealing to customers who would prefer not to deal with a brand which is part of a large group selling commodity products, elements of which may be used in its luxury vehicles, and it allows Eterniti to source the best technologies from the most attractive brands to create a compelling and unique package.
Most importantly, Eterniti can provide bespoke specifications to a degree which does not make business sense for a larger carmaker. Creating a dedicated car for heads of state, celebrities or the super-wealthy does not fit easily with large-scale, small-tolerance procurement and build processes, which is why many luxury brands outsource short-run vehicles to external providers – companies rather like Eterniti.
In addition it will benefit from revenue streams other than sales of new vehicles. The company will also accept trade-ins, allowing it to retail suitable used luxury cars, and will be able to offer servicing, specialist technical and trim work and parts to any customers, plus finance and insurance to UK customers.
Luxury car demand
The super-luxury and ultra-luxury ‘F’ segments of the car market, which Eterniti is targeting, are traditionally far less sensitive to unfavourable economic conditions than other parts of the market. There will always be super-strata of extremely high-worth individuals, and typical buyers own between three and six vehicles. If they want it, they buy it.
In the recent global recession, the ‘F’ segments have not only countered the general economic trend but are thriving. The wealthiest sectors of society are growing, especially in the emerging economic powers of China and the Asia-Pacific, which are driving the growth in these segments, and forecasts suggest that the growth trend will continue.
Globally the market grew by around 500% between 1995 and 2005, from around 5800 units to over 25,000 units, and over 350% from 2002-2007, when volumes peaked at over 30,000. Growth did slow following the global economic downturn, but forecasters are predicting another surge to over 33,000 units by 2015, with the global market reaching over 38,000 in 2017 – an increase of 56% from 2010.
China and Asia-Pacific demand
Eterniti is being careful to establish a presence in the Asia-Pacific region for good reason - the principal growth market over the last 10 years and the period to 2020 is China. No F-segment vehicles at all were registered in China in 2000, but 2005 saw 272 registrations, and this grew by over 700% to exceed 2000 units by 2010. That already outstripped Italy, which had been the fourth-largest F-segment market. Japan has grown progressively too, also eclipsing Italy by 2010.
Forecasts suggest that Chinese sales will reach over 3300 units in 2015, close to 10% of the global market and second only to the USA. And, unlike the almost all other significant F-segment markets around the world, Chinese growth will not begin to flatten out after 2015 so its share will increase.
Between them China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, the four markets outside the UK where Eterniti is setting up showrooms, accounted for 13% of the world’s F-segment sales in 2010, and are forecast to increase their share to over 15% by 2015.
Eterniti’s decision to launch with a high-luxury SUV and to consider having another SUV in its future product plan is endorsed by the fact that major brands are entering these segments. Bentley, Maserati, Lamborghini and Aston Martin are all studying the high-luxury end of the SUV market, while Porsche now relies on the Cayenne for half its sales and will add a smaller SUV in 2013. Demand for luxury SUVs has nearly doubled since 2000, and analysts forecast that the market for large, luxury SUVs will grow by 24% to 1.1 million vehicles by 2015.
Market Representation and Volumes
Eterniti knows that its wholly-owned network of showrooms in London and Asia will not generate sufficient sales volumes on their own, and the cost of establishing representation in all the major wealth centres in China would be prohibitive. It will therefore operate through partners in China, allowing it to target the regional cities where many of the country’s one million USD millionaires are located.
Eterniti is aiming to sell around 100 new vehicles in 2013, rising to 150 in 2015.