Will Range Rover move into building a premium saloon, one to rival the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, and Lexus LS? Don’t bet against it, if what Gerry McGovern says is any indication.
The head of design for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) was asked at the launch of the fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery in the US state of Utah if Range Rover could make a passenger car-like model.
“Why not?” said McGovern (above). “If you look at how other brands have come into this SUV territory, why couldn’t Land Rover, Range Rover go into that territory?
“The thing about Range Rover is, it has massive brand equity. It has equity comparable to certain fashion brands, not because it’s fashionable but because of the margin.”
JLR had just released the first official picture of the Range Rover Velar, a glamourous ‘avant garde’ model named after the first prototypes of 1969-70. Velar – borrowed from the latin ‘velare’ for ‘veil’ or ‘cover’ – will land in NZ later this year.
McGovern said that if Land Rover and Range Rover are to evolve, they need to deliver what the market is asking for, while still maintaining the links to their strong heritage and DNA.
“We have got a specific DNA which has evolved over the years and it’s about taking that DNA and those ingredients and cooking them up in a way that is absolutely relevant,” he said.
“All the vehicles that we create now need to sell a certain volume so we can get that investment back and reinvest it in the future.
“We are never going to be about massive volume but we need to get to critical mass so we can sustain ourselves.”
“We have the ability to stretch and have much greater resonance in the marketplace, so I think there are lots of opportunities.
“Part of the job that we have in design is not to sit there for the market planners to come to us, we define the opportunities of the business.
“What about if we did this? Would it give the brand more resonance and bring new customers to the brand?”