Jaguar Land Rover Exec: New Discovery Causes Traditionalists to 'Pine Over' Old Discovery Shape

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
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jaguar land rover exec new discovery causes traditionalists to pine over old

“But in some cases, the traditionalists are going to

maybe pine over the squarer shape of the previous four iterations.”

– Jaguar Land Rover Australia Managing Director, Matthew Wiesner

The Land Rover Discovery, known for a time in North America as the LR3 and then LR4 whilst alphanumeric nomenclature was deemed necessary if one was to steal market share from the Lexus GX460, is a box.

Or rather, it was a box. For nearly three decades, through the Series I and Series II and then the LR3 and LR4 that ran for a dozen years or so, Land Rover’s sub-Range Rover was squared off. Hard lines. Rectangles. Right angles. No Bangles.

Land Rover has rediscovered the Discovery name in North America, but the brand did not manage to rediscover the Discovery’s styling themes. And on the other side of the world from Land Rover’s Coventry HQ, Australia’s Jaguar Land Rover boss is vocalizing a major concern.

“The new shape is certainly going to test some of the traditional owners of Discovery,” Matthew Wiesner told CarAdvice.

Ya don’t say.

Back in the USA, Land Rover perhaps need not care about traditional Discovery owners. There just aren’t that many of them. Since the recession, Land Rover USA has averaged only 7,700 annual LR4 sales, just 14 percent of Land Rover’s total. More costly Range Rover models, the original Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport, have proven distinctly more popular.

But the new Discovery, despite improved efficiency and on-road behavior, is a visually complicated affair in the eyes of diehard Discovery owners.

Copious amounts of bodywork above the rear wheels, an inartfully executed stepped roof, a front end that links the Discovery too closely to the soft-looking (and cheaper) Discovery Sport, and plentiful evidence of an all-around attempt to normalize the brick-shaped LR4 for aero purposes is not the way to an LR4 lover’s heart.

Nevertheless, says JLR Australia’s Wiesner, Land Rover sees evidence that the new Discovery is operating on a higher level than the old model, stealing sales from the Audi Q7 and BMW X5.

That’s not a bad thing, though only 40 percent of JLR Australia’s orders for the new Discovery are coming from owners of old Discoverys.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • 4everdisco 4everdisco on Jul 10, 2017

    Listen most people in America are not really loyal to much these days, so to expect decent feedback on this matter is about as likely as the sky to rain money. I'm an American, but I can appreciate design, legacy and tradition... Although I can appreciate modern design and what Land Rover is trying to do with the line of Discovery. I have to agree that the new design is not a fav of mine... I own an 06 LR3 and it has over 150,000 miles... And I'm still taking it out through my back roads and all over California... My gas mileage has been decent for box frame and haven't had any major mechanical/electrical issues that would raise concern. That square frame is an iconic Land Rover Design.. It's practical, and allows for outstanding views while your passing up Land Cruisers and jeeps on those rigorous trails. I don't care how many of you think you know LR, but I'm speaking from experience... I will be riding my LR3 till it's dying days and continue to loyally support LR... The design might be something to get use to, but the innovation on new Disco from Land Rover should help ease the aesthetic pain... I would gladly pay the gas for the iconic design of discos! They just work!

  • Ccc555 Ccc555 on Jul 10, 2017

    I have 2015 LR4. It is quirky and not as easy to use as say a Tahoe or GLS 450 would be - but it's my wife's car and she made the call based on absolutely loving the look of it. She's an interior designer and is often complemented on her style/taste so I assume she knows that she's talking about. To me it looks like a Jeep Liberty and while it isn't the most user friendly truck, there is something really nice about it when you take it for a longer distance ride. Around town I prefer my car but on a drive into the mountains or to the beach, this thing feels perfect.

  • John It is ashame that a company that evaluates toaster ovens, like consumer reports, is allowed to cast such negative press upon what is perhaps the world's best selling pickup truck, such being a classic engineering marvel like the ford f150 series. I have personally bought, lived with, and have driven these vehicles for almost half a century, and I can tell you that to me they are incredible wonderfully crafted machines that have been not only helpful in every respect a truck can be, but beautiful to drive particularly with the modern technology packages now incorporated in their systems packages. I say leave the evaluations and judgement calls to those who's knowledge of automotive engineering and design are expert to the matter in question.
  • Tassos Tassos' Playmate of the dayI could not resist this one, which is a Gorgeous S class, and sold for practically peanuts, $2,600!!!! It is a lowly 300 SE from 1989, big, safe as hell, heavy and underpowered. The IDEAL car to buy for your punk kid going to college. And you can buy THREE of them for the price of that POS Honda Fit Clown car!!!!
  • SCE to AUX This is a policy problem, not a technology problem. Asking electric buses to do this service is just as absurd as asking a fleet of jitney drivers to do it.But they're thinking too small - the Tesla Semi could do the job.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Ah Mini, the news no-one was waiting for.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Gruesome Newsom has spoken, you are now required to bow and do his bidding.