Land Rover USA Is Surging And The Discovery Sport Is Only Just Ramping Up
Land Rover USA sales jumped 19% to 5,382 units in May 2015, the fifth month out of the last six that Land Rover volume has crested the 5,000-unit barrier. Land Rover accomplished that feat just once in the previous twelve months.
More interesting than the brand’s surge – sales are up 25% year-to-date – is the fact that Land Rover shot off to a record start in 2015 with little impact from the LR2-replacing Discovery Sport.
The small Land Rover, available with emergencies-only third-row seating, is expected to eventually challenge for top spot on the Land Rover leaderboard, if not in the United States then globally. In the U.S., the Range Rover Sport is consistently Land Rover’s best-selling model, followed by the Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque, the latter of which is closely related to the more family-friendly Discovery Sport.
(LR4 sales, incidentally, have doubled so far this year, but that’s a follow-up to a four-year low in 2014, when sales were down 77% compared with 2005.)
Nevertheless, the departing LR2 and incoming Discovery Sport have, thus far, combined for a 62% decline through the first five months of 2015, and it’s alongside this entry-level dearth that overall Land Rover volume has increased by more than 5,500 units year-to-date. Just what might the brand do when Land Rover’s U.S. outpost finally receives a healthy number of Discovery Sports?
In May 2015, for example, when Land Rover sales increased by 846 units, the new Discovery Sport only accounted for 8.2% of total Land Rover volume. Only 440 copies of the new vehicle were sold last month, which still represented a 13% increase compared with the LR2’s year-ago total.
As the Discovery Sport ramps up, Land Rover’s two most expensive models continue to carry the load in the U.S. The iconic Range Rover and its lesser sibling, the Range Rover Sport, accounted for six out of every ten Land Rover sales last month. Each vehicle, on its own, outsold the whole Jaguar division, where sales slid 8% to just 1,204 units in May. That’s fewer than Maserati managed. It was also Jaguar’s fourth year-over-year monthly sales decline in 2015.
Comparisons with Jaguar – even when they show that Land Rover sales are routinely four times stronger than at the partner car brand; even when they manifest meaningful growth – do still tend to highlight the fact that Land Rovers are not terribly common.
But that’s not to say Land Rovers are rare everywhere. Land Rover’s market share in the brand’s home UK market grew to 2.8% through the first five months of 2015. Although Americans have registered six times more new vehicles than UK residents so far this year, Brits have actually taken ownership of 3,451 more new Land Rovers.
Land Rover’s year-to-date U.S. market share? 0.4%.
But that’s the Discovery Sport’s reason for being, to increase the brand’s standing in a core growth sector. Competitors from Audi, BMW, Acura, Lexus, and the like combined for 105,000 U.S. sales in the first five months of 2015. If the Discovery Sport manages to improve upon the LR2’s standing in that category – and it will – Land Rover’s overall tally may well explode in the latter half of the year.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.
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Parked in the apartment complex where I live (working poor folk, mostly) are both a Land Rover and a Range Rover. Apparently there's some demand...they stick out from the surrounding Pontiac G6/Saturns/old K cars in the parking lots.
Does the presence of the Discovery Sport mean the LR4's replacement will be called a Discovery once more, as it is everywhere else in the world?