By on February 13, 2011

Having heard that the littlest Land Rover will go by the name “Range Rover Evoque,” Autoblog caught up with the Jaguar-Land Rover’s communications team at the Chicago Auto Show, and asked whether Tata’s luxury group would be trying to differentiate the Range Rover brand. Their answer?

Dealers will add Range Rover branding to their towers. the issue is in flux right now.

They will? This decision forces the question: what differentiates a Land Rover from a Range Rover?

Land Rover is more utilitarian, Range Rover is the top end of luxury. You don’t lose any capability with the Range Rover, but the Evoque especially is about unabashed on-road and urban driving.

There you have it. Certainly, “Land Rover Range Rover Sport” is an awkward formulation, but is “Range Rover Range Rover Sport” really any better? Is JLR making a worthwhile distinction between brands, or is it simply adding to America’s auto brand clutter?

Range Rover is apparently fairly serious about moving upmarket as Autocar reports it is about to announce a $200k+ “Ultimate” special edition. Plus, a new aluminum-platformed Range Rover is under development which will reportedly lose nearly one thousand pounds compared to the current model. More legroom and an interior featuring “the kind of lavish materials and design typified by Bentley” are said to be on tap for the new model. In short, it wounds like Range Rover is definitely headed upmarket… but where does that leave the Land Rover models?

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13 Comments on “When Is A Range Rover Not A Land Rover?...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I guess since I won’t ever be in the market for one, I don’t really care but how bout: Range Rover by Land Rover (like the old “Cimarron by Cadillac.”) 

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    A counter-productive distinction.  Rover, in all of its iterations, is way too small to be dicing and slicing its branding like that.  Smells like newbie incompetence.

  • avatar

    There’s a grand total of 1 Land/Range Rover dealer for the entire Portland Or area, and they’re buried downtown.  Given the Evoque will be nearly $50k, has no reliability record (we’re talking first year Land Rover quality level, and first year for any carmaker is usually goof city), and appears mostly but not entirely based on the LR2, it’ll be interesting as to how many folks get one soon.

  • avatar

    A Range Rover hasn’t been a Land Rover since it lost the solid axles in favor of independent suspension.

  • avatar

    They’re overthinking this, methinks. Make it simple and dump the “Land Rover” brand. No one in America will know the difference.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “unabashed on-road and urban driving.”
    Does this mean we can cll them something other than SUVs. How about “Mall Activity Vehicles” or “Country Club Untility Vehicles”?

  • avatar

    I think JLr have a clear idea of where they are going. From what I’ve read else where:
    – Jaguar will make SUV’s to take on BMW/ Porsche (e.g. very fast SUV’s with zero offroad ability)
    – Range Rover will make Luxury offroaders with lot’s of offroad ability (Premium Sophistication)
    – Land Rover’s will take on Jeep but always be a bit more upmarket.
    I think Land Rover will replace the Defender with a more civilised offroader and a pickup aimed at the more premium end of the Ford F150 market. The Freelander will go to 2 Wheel bases and the Discovery will become more Land Cruiser like.
    I doubt TATA are worried about Land Rover/ Range Rover’s strategy because they are currently driving TATA motors profits…. Land Rover haven’t put a foot wrong yet. I doubt they will get the next phase of their evolution wrong either.

    • 0 avatar

      The only problem with that lineup is that, in the United States, it’s going to become impossible to buy a Land Rover.  Only Jaguar and Range Rover SUV’s will be available.
      At least with a Jeep, no matter how fancy they go on the SUV’s, you can still buy a relatively bare-bones Wrangler than CAN be bashed off-road.

    • 0 avatar

      At least with a Jeep, no matter how fancy they go on the SUV’s, you can still buy a relatively bare-bones Wrangler than CAN be bashed off-road.

      Yes, and in the US, that market is owned by Jeep.  It’s such a challenge to make money on a low-margin off-roader that the companies that can do it (Toyota, Suzuki, Nissan) don’t not because they can’t, but because dividing the pie with Jeep is not worth it.

      Off-roaders aren’t like other low-margin products, either.  Unlike, say, a B-segment subcompact, there’s no expectation that the owner will trade up a few times and thusly be worth the investment.  Heck, there’s not a lot of chance they’ll buy another, given that offroaders are second- or third-car “toys” of older, wealthy buyers who are on their last car, and that younger buyers are exculsively buying used.

      J/LR is doing the right thing.  At most, North America will get an entry-level small crossover, and the remaining models will be sold as offroad-capable boulevardiers to compete with the Mercedes G-Class (not GL) and perhaps the Lexus LX.  The true Land Rovers might live on, but only for specific use and only as token “character” cars.

  • avatar

    The brand ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  The cars, on the other hand…

  • avatar

    A r

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