We’ll have complete coverage of Land Rover at the New York Auto in the upcoming issue of Rovers Magazine, but until then, here’s some observations I wanted to share with you.
This was Jaguar’s year to show off at the Auto Show so Land Rover let its older brother have center stage. So Jaguar launched its newest entry level model, the XE, their long wheelbase XF sedan, and introduced their new SUV, the F –Pace. It might seem odd that JLR would spend the capital to create a Jaguar SUV when Land Rover has several model options in place already, but there’s no doubt that the pressure from the US dealer network made this a necessity. While JLR North America might want to see both brands sold at the same dealership, state franchise laws can make that difficult to achieve – witness the number of free standing Jaguar dealerships in many markets. Dealers of every marque want SUV’s to sell – for goodness sake, Maserati and Bentley, of all people, showed off their new SUV’s at the Auto Show. The Maserati Levante looked far more like an Infiniti or a Land Cruiser; the Bentley Bentayga had little of the chiseled sleekness that’s a hallmark of the brand.
Land Rover’s trotted out its SVO models, the Range Rover SVO Autobiograhy and the Range Rover Sport SVR, in line with the featured Jags that came out of the same SVO. Adventure and off road enthusiasts might not have great interest in the swaths of leather seat samples or bespoke wood options, or the very fancy wheels that rock strewn trails would wreck in a heartbeat. But these very profitable offshoots should provide additional capital towards the next Defender and Discovery.
Land Rover has a soft top again in the form of the Range Rover Evoque convertible. This two door version of the popular small Range Rover received a lot of stiffening and bracing underneath its body panels when Land Rover removed its top and replaced it with an acoustically sealed folding soft top. It will go through the same field and streams as any Evoque and if there’s a reduction in rear seat space because of the folding top mechanism, it wasn’t apparent. Land Rover North America’s Simon Turner called sales estimates a “white slate”; no one really knows the market for this type of vehicle. I had to admit that it looked quite good in person, top up or down
JLR also set up a boutique of Land Rover and Jaguar branded items, all looking of appropriate quality. I couldn’t resist pickup two T-shirts with logos commemorating the historic Oxford & Cambridge London – Singapore Expedition. Nice move, Land Rover!
Once the convention center staff had evicted all the journalists, the setup began for an invitation-only fund raising gala. Land Rover and Jaguar moved vehicles off the show stand onto the main floor so as to visually greet the attendees. That’s premium space in which to view their premium line-up.
Land Rover UK executives in attendance provided us with an exciting announcement that we’ll share with you in our upcoming article. Meanwhile, enjoy your Land Rover experience this weekend!
By Jeffrey Aronson