Land Rover has today confirmed what we've long expected – that the popular LRX Concept from the 2008 edition of the Detroit Auto Show is headed for production. The British-born automaker doesn't actually say the new 'ute will be called the LRX when it hits the market in 2011, but it definitely will be wearing the Range Rover moniker and will therefore likely be marketed as a premium vehicle.
No details are given about the coupelike SUV's powertrain, but Land Rover does say the new vehicle "will be the smallest, lightest and most efficient vehicle the company has ever produced." Previous reports have suggested the production LRX will share underpinnings with the LR2 (a.k.a. the Freelander) and will be offered with an optional all-wheel drive hybrid powertrain that may use an electric motor to power the rear wheels and a transverse engine underhood driving the front wheels.
Judging from the lone rendering released with this announcement, the basic shape from the LRX Concept should survive mostly intact, perhaps gaining a slightly more pronounced front fascia to go along with the production-necessary external door handles. Expect more details to filter out at the beginning of 2010, but in the meantime, click past the break for the press release.
SMALL RANGE ROVER CONFIRMED FOR PRODUCTION
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 24 September 2009 – Land Rover has confirmed today that a production version of its exciting LRX concept car will be built. The new car will debut next year and join the Range Rover line-up in 2011.
Designed and engineered at Land Rover's state of the art Gaydon facility, the new Range Rover will be the smallest, lightest and most efficient vehicle the company has ever produced.
The new car will be built at the multi award-winning plant in Halewood, on Merseyside, subject to quality and productivity agreements and will be sold in over 100 countries around the world.
Phil Popham, managing director of Land Rover said: "The production of a small Range Rover model is excellent news for our employees, dealers and customers. It is a demonstration of our commitment to investing for the future, to continue to deliver relevant vehicles for our customers, with the outstanding breadth of capability for which we are world-renowned."
"Feedback from our customer research also fully supports our belief that a production version of the LRX Concept would further raise the desirability of our brand and absolutely meet their expectations." Phil added.
Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design director said "The new vehicle will be a natural extension to the Range Rover line-up, complementing the existing models and helping to define a new segment. It will be true to the concept and have many recognisable Range Rover design cues including the signature clamshell bonnet, the floating roof and the solid 'wheel-at-each-corner' stance."
More details of the new small Range Rover will be released next year.