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Land Rover moving up launch of BMW X5-fighter Range Rover Sport
(by AutoWeek)

Land Rover is hastening the launch of the Range Rover Sport, its BMW X5-fighter, by 12 months, swapping the model’s timing with the Defender replacement.

The five-seat sport/ute arrives at dealers in late 2004, a switch that gives Land Rover engineers and designers more time to solve the tricky problem of replacing the iconic Defender. The Defender instead will go into production in February 2006.

The move also strengthens Land Rover’s business plan, because the Range Rover Sport, codenamed L320, will be a premium-positioned, sporty 4x4 priced just under the luxury Range Rover. That means fatter profits per vehicle than the more utility-oriented Defender, something Ford’s Premier Automotive Group needs to produce as much as luxury vehicles.
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