• Mar 30th 2009 at 7:00PM
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Even in the face of an overall market for SUVs that's seen demand fall by over 50% over the last year alone, Land Rover's top-level Range Rover is keeping the British/Indian automaker afloat. Sales of the Range Rover – which boasts a starting price of $78,525 – are down only 17.8-percent for the first two months of the year. It's the smaller LR3 (down 28%) and entry-level LR2 (down a whopping 57%) that are dragging the automaker's overall sales figures (down 36.6%) into the mud.
Given its importance to the brand, word that an updated Range Rover is expected at next week's New York Auto Show is big news. Spy shots of the new Rover indicate that exterior changes won't be terribly dramatic for the model that was launched way back in 2002, but there should be big news under the hood, where we expect Jaguar's 5.0-liter all-aluminum V8 engine to take up residence.

Given how well the Range Rover name resonates with 4x4 buyers, it's not surprising to hear that the British company may badge its upcoming production version of the LRX concept (which debuted at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show) as a Range Rover. Like the concept upon which it's based, the new model will be a coupe-like take on the automaker's well-defined SUV theme. However, given the frequency with which consumers already often interchange "Land Rover" (the brand) and "Range Rover" (the model) – not to mention "Range Rover Sport" (the model) – this arrangement sounds potentially confusing. Further, given the LRX's more road-oriented mission, one has to wonder if branding the LRX as a "Range Rover" will serve to dilut the range-topping vehicle's hard-earned off-road equity...

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd | Image: Auto Express]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Land Rover is in a bit of a mess. Historically, it only managed to exist by being part of a large, diversified, automotive group (Rover, BMW, and Ford).
      Tata its current owner is in a bigger mess and I do not see the economies of scales and platform sharing happening within the Tata group. To make matters worse, the 4x4 fad is over, and nearly every manufacturer nowadays offers four-wheel drive vehicles that are much cheaper and designed to compete in the mass market arena. This was not the case in the 60s and 70s (Land Rover's heydays).

      Land Rovers are paradoxically over engineered, to justify their premium DNA, price tag and off-road performance. This makes them more prone to failure than its competitors. Over engineered to make them better off-road but in a cynical twist, LR as a brand turned its back on its off-road heritage. Customers also see off-road capability as being less relevant nowadays. Most fleet users (where the volumes are) want Toyota Land Cruiser G spec (basic, reliable, tin can, with A/C, comfort and no frills) not LR3 or LR2 that cannot be ordered with a similar level of (low) cost/options. Let us not even start on Defender; a model that LR has done its best to neuter and is almost ashamed of.

      The Range Rover brand is a gold mine but still has its equity and aura based on the go anywhere image of the past (tough luxury). Let us not kid ourselves. Current Range Rover (L322) is a BMW product that owes its success to the Germans. It is now however getting old and replacing it will be a daunting task.The previous Range Rover (P38) is one of the most unloved products in LR's history, and Range Rover Sport (L320) was just a fortuitous fluke.

      LR got lucky on Range Rover Sport but now that the fashion for “loud SUV” is gone it would be interesting to see what happens next. Customers in that segment, or that type of vehicle, have absolutely no brand loyalty. They will move on to Cayenne or whatever the next "new" fashionable vehicle happens to be.
      LR2 and LR3 are good vehicles in their own rights, but despite the empathic denials from LR, commercial failures. LRX? Too little, too late. The right product for the times but wrong image.

      One major casualty of the rapid, successive, brand ownership was the loss of the commercial, fleet and military markets. Fields where LR excelled in the past.
      There are bunches of well publicized fiasco from Iraq to Afghanistan that will haunt LR's fleet/military sales departments for a long time. Although to be fair, some of the products sent to these combat zones were used for purposes they were never intended for.

      What is next? Tata will have to dump the brand but will do it in an elegant face saving fashion. Maybe through its partner Fiat? In which case if the merger with Chrysler happens LR will find itself in the same stable as Jeep. Since the Land Rover started as a copy of the Jeep Willis, the brand would have gone back full circle.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That picture is of the redesigned Sport.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Land Rover really needs to improve its fuel economy if it hopes to survive in a world of elevated gas prices and carbon taxes for companies that don't meet code. I'm hoping that "big surprise under the hood" is some sort of series hybrid. Modern electric motors can provide more than enough torque for serious off-roading
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd personally like to see LR go back to basics with the Defender and Range Rover, a successful combination in the past where the vehicles were simple and designed for off-road use, as opposed to life in the Kings Road ... and get rid of everything else. Unfortunately, there's no room in today's world for that line-up.
      • 6 Years Ago
      bad decision to brand the lrx a range rover
      a range rover is a range rover, a big suv with insane comfort and off-road ability, i even think the rr sport slightely diluted it, but it still stays true to off roading potential and kept the looks
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's a bad guy's dream car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      thats a good zombie
      • 6 Years Ago
      Land Rover thinks they can sell a pimped-out Isuzu VehiCROSS in 2010?
      Its almost as though Tata wants to drive Jag and Rover into the ground so they have a good excuse to move production to India....

      The UK automotive industry is a whore for German and India industrial giants...
      The country has nothing left to keep it afloat, especially after their oil runs out...
      Isn't that right Bloke....
        • 6 Years Ago
        Try PwC ... yes, you may have to look that one up.

        As for your commentary ... seriously, you're trying to BS the wrong guy.

        If I was in your shoes, I'd worry about the Chinese before anyone else.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I have lived in West Lafayette,IN for 5 years and Memphis,Tennessee for over 20. Please don't tell me about "areas" around the country. The US has the most dynamic economy on Earth, if there is only thing it does well is accept change. It lets dinosaurs die (GM, Lehman, etc) and encourages new companies. Americans don't mind moving from New Haven to San Diego, could you get people from Madrid to move to Helsinki...."

        Oh I knew that comment would really dig deep inside, after all, you know everything don't you!

        Just so you're aware, I spent ten years with the firm I work for in Cleveland, Ohio (I myself lived in Chagrin Falls, OH) and travelled extensively around the States with them, so I'm familiar with local economies there and still am. I also have family (through marriage) just south of Cleveland and own family members in New Jersey. I've also spent a year in Brussels and spent a lot of time in Melbourne, with the rest of the time spent in Birmingham and London.

        As for the US economy, it's very dynamic but it will be overtaken by China (in GDP terms) within the next 30 years - that's a very commonly held opinion. America's biggest problem has been decades of a life of living beyond one's means with enormous amounts of personal debt compared with other western countries. Personal bankruptcies there among individuals are simply staggering and have been for many years, and resulted in the tightening (somewhat) of legislation a couple of years ago. While the expenditure itself pumps the economy, debt when called in or when it becomes deliquent only damages it, and that's one of the main culprits behind America's ravaging downturn.

        I could say anything on here and you wouldn't know whether I was being straight, joking, or indifferent. The fact that you hang onto every last word I say only means that for some reason, I intimidate you to the core. As I've said, the attention is flattering, but trust me, I have enough experience in business in different parts of the world to know when anybody on here - including you - is talking sense or just complete off-the-top-of-their-head rubbish.
        • 6 Years Ago
        u trying to ban me bloke
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's not just me saying the UK is finished.... many, many people, some with even higher education levels than that of your GED summer schooling have said that the UK will sink into the North Sea....
        • 6 Years Ago
        As if someone as uneducated as you would ever really know!
        • 6 Years Ago
        "The US isn't locked in with anybody .. Whatsmore, if I were you I'd take a tour of areas around Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania as I did recently just to really see how bad things have become."

        The US and China are BFF, China's political bomb is only kept in check by high-growth rates... if for any reason the 1.3 billion people of China see a weak and poor performing central govt there will be a huge price to be paid. When China signed on to Uncles Sam's version of globalization, they only saw Dollar bills and "passed the buck" when it came to political reform. For this reason China is more dependent on the US than the other way around. Although as China gets more rich the US becomes more dependent. For China to become richer than the US... it MUST become like the US, rule of law and democracy. A similar scenario applies to India, except it is cultural/religious and not institutional. Either way China and India becoming rich makes the world a much safer place. The US can only gain!

        I have lived in West Lafayette,IN for 5 years and Memphis,Tennessee for over 20. Please don't tell me about "areas" around the country. The US has the most dynamic economy on Earth, if there is only thing it does well is accept change. It lets dinosaurs die (GM, Lehman, etc) and encourages new companies. Americans don't mind moving from New Haven to San Diego, could you get people from Madrid to move to Helsinki....

        In times of crisis international funds find shelter... and right now much of that is being invested in a very stable and dynamic environment called the US.

        " Which somehow echoes just how poorly you're able to judge people."
        Really I am judging by your constant unprovoked rants. Your bait-o-matic posts induced by brain tremors are what keep me coming back. Continue with Canadians / US males / Rednecks / Divorce rates / Trailer Trash / Homosexuals / US wars / Steering wheels... etc

        "As for your commentary ... seriously, you're trying to BS the wrong guy."
        Why don't you reply to LDMAN's post... or did it hurt your feelings..
        The LRX is a failure, just like the $31k Vehicross was in 1999 when gas was at 95 cents/g. LR is gone... but who will buy....

        By the way, why isn't Tata releasing March sales for LR and Jaguar... or could it be at Zero...
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