AutoCar rendering of possible next generation Range Rover
When the current version of the Jaguar XJ was introduced a couple of years ago, the styling didn't change radically from the look that has prevailed on the big cat sedans since the late sixties. One major element of the car did change radically, the steel structure gave way to aluminum. The result was that even though the car grew larger in every dimension and had more equipment it was over 300 lbs lighter, reversing a seemingly inexorable trend among most cars.
Now Ford stablemate Land Rover is looking to follow the same path for the next generation Range Rover. The plan is to use conventional aluminum stampings for inner and outer body panels that are then rivet bonded together in technique similar to the Jaguar. The aluminum structure is expected to reduce the weight of the Range Rovers body by 700-900lbs, a very substantial change. That would bring the overall weight down to about 4800lbs which is by no means light but it would still provide for a fifteen percent improvement in fuel economy and perhaps more depending on what new engine technology is used. The new Range Rover could see the light of day by mid-2011.