When you buy a luxury car, you’re not just paying for advanced engineering and design, but also a premium service experience – or, at least, that’s the way it should be.
When things go wrong, that’s when you find out more about people. You see the real person, their inner depth and their care. When things are going well, it’s easy to be nice. But when things go south, that’s when you see whether your relationship is worthwhile.
The same can be said for car companies. If your car is driving perfectly, has no issues and is performing exactly how you expect it to, then why would you question how a car company will treat you? But when things go wrong, you then find out whether their support is worth the money you’ve paid.
Buy a Tata and you can’t expect the same treatment as when you buy a Jaguar, for example – even though they both share the same parent. And this month I had the opportunity to avail of the full Jaguar experience. But not by choice.
My test car was Jaguar’s midsize sedan, the XE. With phenomenal handling that now bests the average BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the XE is a proper driver’s car. But after waking up to find a completely flat tyre, it was never going to take corners quite the same.
It was a strange one – I drove the car out of the driveway, carefully looking for the offending screw or nail. Nothing. So, I pumped it up with a compressor. The tell-tale hissing sound was there, but I couldn’t isolate exactly where the puncture was.
So, after a morning coffee, it was time to call on Jaguar’s roadside assistance programme. After all, it’s included when the vehicle is under warranty. Now, I could have changed over the wheel to the space saver tyre by myself (it’s not a terribly difficult job), but with this sort of service included, why not take advantage of it? Unlike an insurance claim where premiums go up, there’s no limit to the amount of times you can use roadside assistance. Keep your hands clean and get the car company to sort it out – after all, you’re paying for the privilege.
So, time to pick up the phone and see whether this is worth the money or not. Immediately, it was obvious that the lady in the Jaguar roadside assistance office was based locally (in Australia). She was very pleasant, asked how it happened and even showed empathy by her comments.
It was only a few short minutes on the phone, but it was enough to brighten my day despite waking up to an inconvenience. With the registration of the car given, the location and my phone number, a roadside dispatch was requested and while on the phone a confirmation SMS came through. No other details required, and no third-degree inquisition.
The gentleman from the roadside assistance company knew little about Jags, but he was happy to learn, and the procedure to change over to a space saver isn’t very different to changing over a normal wheel. I left him to it to get on with his work, and after he was done he simply dropped off the key and was on his way.
A few hours after the tyre was changed, I received a courtesy call from Jaguar to ensure that I was on my way, that everything was taken care of to my satisfaction and if there was anything else they could help with, they would. At no point did I mention that I was a motoring journalist, otherwise I couldn’t guarantee that my treatment would be exactly the same as any customer. So, it seems that everything I went through was exactly what a Jaguar owner would have experienced.
And this isn’t the first time, either. A few years ago, an alternator failed on a Jaguar XF that I was testing. I was hundreds of kilometres away from home but close to a small town. The man in the call centre set about arranging a hotel room and organising some food for the evening while the car was collected.
It’s that sort of service that you’re paying for when you buy a luxury car, and the experience lived up to expectations on both occasions. The only problem with this latest experience? Realising that afterward you can’t throw an XE into corners when you have a space saver fitted…
Also read: 2020 Jaguar XE revealed