More land Rover news
Land Rover news
Rover's new pack
AN EBULLIENT Land Rover plans to launch five new models in the next five years.
The refreshed stable of British off-roaders, starting with the 2002 Range Rover, is tipped to include an all-new baby Range Rover by 2007. And there is talk of adding a bargain-basement Land Rover a cheaper four-wheel-drive under the Freelander.
The British marque, now part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group alongside Volvo, Jaguar and Aston Martin, will rework all its models by 2006.
Following the new-generation Range Rover is tipped to be the next-generation Land Rover Discovery.
The five-door wagon is bigger with more interior space and likely to continue with the Discovery's high-stepping roofline. It also will retain decent ground clearance and a two-speed transfer box.
This 2004 Discovery would use V6 and V8 petrol engines borrowed from the Jaguar stable and a V6 diesel from Ford, according to British reports.
An evolutionary Freelander is expected 12 months later, built on a platform shared with the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute stablemates.
The next new Land Rover, due in about 2006, is causing the most headaches. The 21st century Defender must trace its heritage to the original 1948 Land Rover.
Designer Don Wyatt says: "We cannot afford to stuff this one up, this is our core product."
The issue is further complicated by the number of current Defender variations, and uses, around the world. There are questions to be decided about both the style and substance of the Defender, set to retain a separate chassis but possibly independent front suspension.
After the new British workhorse will come a baby Range Rover in 2007. This smaller, cheaper Range Rover would be targeted at the likes of BMW's six-cylinder X5 wagons and the Lexus RX300. These are quick and comfortable prestige wagons in a separate niche between family off-roaders and the big, luxury wagons.
This new machine would slip between the Discovery and the Range Rover in pricing. Company research shows there is a market for a Range Rover which appeals to younger buyers, with the average age of current owners at 47 years.
PAG chairman Wolfgang Reitzle says there may still be room for another, cheaper Land Rover to slot below the Freelander. This compact rough-roader would take the Land Rover stable to six separate models but its future may depend on production capacities at the British plant.
The new Range Rover will arrive in Australia in June and is likely to be followed by a HSE Freelander, a high-spec compact Land Rover with leather upholstery and extra features.
Due this year is the facelifted Discovery and the short-wheelbase Defender 90. The 90s for Australia with turbocharged, five-cylinder diesel engines will be built in Land Rover's South African plant.
This compact Defender, a cult vehicle in Japan and parts of Europe, would most likely be sold here as a premium model costing up to $45,000 and with a good deal of comfort and convenient features.
The strength of the British pound and the relative weakness of the Australian dollar has not helped Land Rover in the Australian market in recent years. Last year, Land Rover sold almost 5500 vehicles here and has similar targets for this year.
Article taken From The Courier Mail and many thanks to Falchoon
(sorry about the delay in getting this up)